Kennedy reveals bonuses paid to political appointees

Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy has released details on recent bonuses paid to Ross Reid and Len Simms.
Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy says 'there is no secrecy' surrounding payments to two officials with strong PC connections. (CBC)

Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy has released details on bonus pay that was paid to two top bureaucrats who have strong connections with Newfoundland and Labrador's ruling Progressive Conservatives.

Opposition politicians cried foul when government earlier this week refused to release precise details on the bonuses paid to Len Simms, the chairman and chief executive officer of Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp., and Ross Reid, the deputy minister responsible for the province's population strategy.

Both Simms, a former PC leader, and Reid, the former St. John's East MP, are longtime workers with the PC party, and have played key roles in election campaigns. The Opposition has described both posts as patronage appointments.

Just a day after government said that it could not reveal precise dollar figures because of privacy law, Kennedy gave the information to the house of assembly.

"Mr. Simms received a bonus of $10,315.31 — a very good deal, at that, I would say to you, sir — and Mr. Reid received a bonus of $5,939.50," Kennedy told Liberal MHA Dwight Ball.

Kennedy added that government needed the permission of both men to release the information.

"They have no problem releasing the amounts that they were paid in terms of their bonuses," Kennedy added.

Government recently scrapped its bonus plan for senior public servants, as part of a broader cost-cutting program connected to the provincial budget expected to be tabled later this month.

Kennedy rejected Opposition criticism that the government was hiding details, having only described beforehand the range of possible bonuses that Simms and Reid would have received.

"There is no secrecy, Mr. Speaker. All we are trying to do is we are outlining the work that has been done," Kennedy said.