Severance pay total for Tory insiders in range of $825K to $1.1M
6 high-ranking political appointees received buyouts when government changed in 2014
New Brunswick taxpayers are getting a clearer picture of how much they spent to remove six Progressive Conservative loyalists from the government payroll in 2014.
The six senior Tories all held top positions in the PC government of David Alward and were offered severance payments to quit their positions at the final Alward cabinet meeting, after the party had lost the Sept. 22 election to Brian Gallant's Liberals.
The payout amounts for 2015 were listed in employee salary lists published Thursday as part of public accounts documents released by the Office of the Comptroller. They list the salary and severance ranges, so the precise figures are not known.
But combined with figures for 2014 published last year, the numbers still give taxpayers a rough idea of the total cost to hand the six Tories their pink slips:
- Nancy MacKay, a former chief of staff to Alward who moved to a deputy minister position in the Executive Council office before the 2014 election, collected severance between $125,000 and $150,000 in 2015, on top of $25,000 to $50,000 in 2014.
- Daniel Allain, the former president of NB Liquor under Alward who became a deputy minister in the premier's office in 2013, got severance of between $75,000 and $100,000 in 2015, in addition to the $75,000 to $100,000 he got in 2014.
- Dallas McCready, the deputy minister for strategic initiatives in the Executive Council Office, also had a severance worth between $75,000 and $100,000 in 2015, on top of $75,000 to $100,000 in 2014.
- Darell Fowlie, who was a deputy minister in the premier's office but was on a leave of absence when the PCs lost the election, got a payout between $50,000 and $75,000 in 2015 in addition to the $100,000 to $125,000 he received in 2014.
- Roger Clinch, who was Alward's chief of staff from September 2013 until the Liberals took over in October 2014, received no severance in 2015 but got $100,000 to $125,000 in 2014.
- Greg Lutes, a PC appointee who was the deputy minister of tourism, heritage and culture at the time of the election, received between $100,000 and $125,000 in 2015, as well as $25,000 to $50,000 in 2014.
Departing government employees have the option of spreading severance payments over two years.
The figures "represent the severance that's offered to any departing deputy minister, whether it's politically appointed or otherwise," McCready said in an interview.
"The politically appointed ones are carrying out the same role as any other deputy minister, the same responsibility, albeit appointed by the premier to support the premier's agenda," he said.
Amounts set by formula
The amounts are determined by a formula, McCready added.
"It is no different for a political person," he said.
PC Leader Blaine Higgs and other current PC MLAs would not agree to interviews on the severance payments.
Lutes and Fowlie were later found to have altered government documents in violation of the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act to conceal a visit by a newspaper editor to the government-owned fishing lodge at Larry's Gulch.
Lutes is now chief of staff in the Official Opposition office under Higgs.
Daniel Allain, contacted by email by CBC News, also declined to comment.
2 PC insiders cut out
The Liberals introduced legislation in late 2014 to retroactively eliminate two Crown corporations, Invest New Brunswick and Efficiency New Brunswick, that were headed by two PC insiders, Robert MacLeod and Margaret-Ann Blaney.
Most deputy-minister level civil servants are non-partisan career bureaucrats, but successive PC and Liberal governments have appointed party loyalists to key positions.
That makes them eligible for severance when they resign with the election of a new government.
McCready said career civil servants who reach the deputy minister level "work exceptionally hard and every bit of that severance is warranted for people in that role."
He added, "I personally don't feel political deputies should be treated any differently, but that's a policy of government and any premier is free to change that policy."