- Press Secretary Neala Barton will limit payout to two weeks salary.
When Alison Redford steps down as Alberta premier on Sunday, staff in her office will lose their jobs and be entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in severance pay.
So far, Redford’s office has confirmed communications director Stefan Baranski, press secretary Neala Barton and chief of staff Farouk Adatia have been let go.
The total severance payout for these three individuals is at least $490,000: $104,000 for Baranski, $67,000 for Barton and $316,000 for Adatia.
However, in a Tweet to CBC News, Barton said she'll be taking two weeks of pay. After that, she'll work as the vice-president of communications for the Pan AM Games.
An additional five staff members could be cut, which could push the tally over $1 million.
Dave Hancock, who will be sworn-in as premier on Sunday, defended the payouts when he was asked about it in the Alberta legislature on Thursday.
“The fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, that people come to the service of government,” he said.
“They know that it's a volatile job. They know that it's a risky job. And they come out from whatever they're doing in the private sector to do it, and then they go back.”
But Derek Fildebrandt from the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation believes the amounts are excessive.
“I think the severance packages that we’re seeing paid out here are out of proportion to all norms in the private sector for people who aren’t high level bankers,” Fildebrandt said. “They’re out of proportion to what they deserve, and the time that they’ve served.”
Fildebrandt rejects Hancock’s argument that political staff need more severance because they are at risk of losing their jobs.
He says most people with risky jobs don’t receive six-figure payouts when they are fired.