Edmonton

$3.6M in severance paid to senior Alberta civil servants in 2014

The amounts were published on the so-called “sunshine list,” which lists salaries for government employees who make more than $100,000 a year.

The Alberta government paid $3.6 million in severance to departing political staff and senior civil servants in 2014.

The amounts were published on the so-called “sunshine list,” which lists salaries for government employees who make more than $100,000 a year.

Two former deputy ministers, Dana Woodworth and Robert Penny, each took home $162,160 in severance when they left their jobs last year. 

Severances paid to other civil servants on the list ranged from $175,000 to $97,625.

Included in the 2014 list are previously reported payouts to political staff of former Premier Alison Redford.

They include chief of staff Farouk Adatia ($366,879), communications director Stefan Baranski ($120,541) and principal secretary Lee Richardson ($231,809).

The government passed Treasury Board directives last month that limit severance to three months’ salary for political staff who worked for less than a year.

The maximum payout is capped at six months’ salary. However, those limits only apply to political staff and do not include senior civil servants.

Liberal MLA Kent Hehr is frustrated by the payouts. 

“Sunshine list continues the disturbing trend of there being relatively no rhyme or reason to buyouts for senior executives and people who are involved in government positions," he said, adding that sometimes contract employees take severance only to go work for another government department. 

"Despite the recent changes we made to the accountability act, this has not been addressed."

Premier Jim Prentice is dealing with the issue of salaries and severance pay, his press secretary Emily Woods said in a written statement. 

“Particularly in this challenging economic time, the Government of Alberta must strike a balance between attracting talented individuals to our public service and managing our finances prudently," she said. 

“The new Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Alberta Public Service will provide strategic advice on a wide range of issues, including compensation and severance policy."

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