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Alberta paid over $4.5 million in severance in 1st half of 2019

I decided to go through severance data for 2019, which includes amounts paid for both employment termination and retiring allowance.

The Alberta government publishes public sector body compensation amounts on their website. The currently available data includes information up to 30 June 2019. The last half of 2019 isn’t due until 30 June 2020, so it’ll probably be available sometime this summer.

The data includes base salary, overtime, bonuses, honoraria paid to board members, taxable benefits and severance pay. It’s published for only those individuals who made over $132,924.

I decided to go through the data to look specifically at severance payments, which includes amounts paid for both employment termination and retiring allowance.

The data on the government website spans several years, so I extracted the data for just 2019. Here’s what I found.

For the first 6 months of 2019, the provincial government paid out over $4.546 million to 25 individuals.

The highest severance payment was $500,618.58, paid to an unnamed counsel of the Alberta Utilities Commission. The lowest severance payment was $2,519.16 to Stefne Madison, who used to be the hearing chair of the Appeals Commission for Alberta Workers’ Compensation.

Most institutions paid out severance to just one individual, but 3 paid out severance to multiple people.

For example, the Workers’ Compensation Board paid out $135,705.00 to Ambrose Sun, a service manager; $144,586.00 to Christina Gil, the disability coordinator; and $207,894.90 to Janet Welch, manager of the Office of the Appeals Advisor, for a combined $488,185.90.

Welch has since been hired as the chief of staff to Jason Copping, minister of labour and immigration.

The University of Calgary also paid out severance to 3 individuals: $136,607.17 to Michael Harasym a software developer; $145,101.25 to Risto Treksler a solutions architect; and $431,639.00 to Diane Kenyon, vice president of university relations. Combined, these 3 individuals received $713,347.42.

Alberta Health Services, however, had the largest number of payouts at four. They paid $133,306.86 to John Ginn, director of HR Business Partnerships; $137,181.20 to Stacey Grant, senior advisor with HR Business Partnerships; $177,189.83 to Heather Stankey, a community access supervisor with the Edmonton Zone; and $233,249.35 to Karen Deviller, director of public health and the site director of the East Edmonton Health Centre. AHS paid out a total of $680,27.24 to these 4 individuals.

As I mentioned, because this data covers January through June 2019, it spans part of both the NDP and UCP administrations.

For example, Treksler finished his term with the University of Calgary in March, which would clearly have been under the NDP. Bruce Roberts, the president and CEO of Balancing Pool, and Geoff Gregson, JR Shaw Research Chair in New Venture & Entrepreneurship at NAIT, both left their positions in 2018, also under the NDP. Kenyon and Grant finished theirs in April, which was the month the government switched parties.

On the other hand Mustansar Nadeem left his position as vice-president of corporate services at Olds College in June. As well, David Petis, the vice president of external relations with Medicine Hat College finished in August 2019, both of which would have obviously been under the UCP administration.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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