Three former deputy ministers under the previous Liberal government have resurfaced in the accounting records of the Progressive Conservative administration.
The three officials — deputy ministers Claire LePage, Maurice Robichaud and Dana Clendenning, former president of NB Liquor — left the civil service in the fall of 2010 after Shawn Graham’s Liberals lost the election.
At their final meeting in October 2010, the Liberal cabinet approved buyout packages for five deputy ministers.
Normally the payments are made in one lump sum, but three of the packages stretched into the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
Robichaud and Clendenning each received between $125,000 and $150,000 in a fiscal year when they weren't working for taxpayers, while LePage collected between $75,000 and $99,000.
Paul Robichaud, the deputy premier, said on Thursday the expense appears on the Progressive Conservative books, but it was a Liberal decision.
"No, I was very surprised, not only to see their names, but to see the amount of money they are still receiving," he said.
The payments were published in the annual report by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. The document releases payments made to civil servants.
Liberal MLA Victor Boudreau, who was a part of the cabinet that approved the payments, said he has no idea why the payments were spread over two years.
"No, I'm not aware why it would be in this fiscal year. Honestly I have no idea," he said.
The Progressive Conservatives awarded one of their top officials a similar two-year, spread-out severance back in 2006.