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Severance sucks … unless you’re at the top

We won’t know until next summer how much extra it cost to clean house at City Hall.

From former city manager Kathleen Soltis down to the handful of senior staff and others let go this year, pretty much everyone will be given severance packages. Since severance is usually based on how much one was making, the packages for those at the top are usually pretty good … the proverbial golden handshake.

The amounts of the severance packages won’t be disclosed by the city, however the total amount paid in severance will be contained in the Statement of Financial Information, which is usually released in late June.

So we have to wait for information that won’t be too specific.

The city, however, isn’t the only public institution in Prince George that has been dishing out severance. The information is available in the public sector disclosures, published by the province, and way more detailed than anything the city will produce.

So … who has been collecting severance? Well, there are few.

Earlier this year Daniel Weeks stepped down from his position as president of the University of Northern BC for health reasons. It came as a surprise to me that he is now listed as a special advisor at the university. His total compensation for the 2019/20 year at the university is $325,938, which includes his regular $288,926 salary,  plus benefits, pension, and other compensation. The position changed to special advisor as of Feb 20, 2020 and will run until August 19, 2021.

And he’s not the only one.

Barb Daigle, who was the interim vice-president, finance, people, and business operations, left the university on January 31, 2020. Her total severance consists of 11 months’ pay in the amount of $180,993, plus $25,803 in lieu of 11 months of benefits, pension, and car allowance bringing her total payout to $206,724. Add in her regular salary of $167,005, plus benefits and pension and she took home $420,032 in 2019/20.

Geoff Payne was appointed Interim President & Vice Chancellor on Feb 21, 2020 with additional annual stipend of $50,400 beyond his previous position salary, in total $260,400.

Over at School District 57, it and Nevio Rossi parted ways on December 31, 2019. Rossi, who was assistant superintendent, was given a lump sum severance of $272,330. Add in his $79,539 in pay plus pension and benefits and he took home $387,617.

Anita Richardson, who was hired as superintendent on December 18, took home $104,773, which is basically half a year.

The Northern Health Authority also dished out some severance as Dr. Sandra Allison left her position as Chief Medical Health Officer on January 29. She is still receiving her regular salary of $283,080 plus benefits and pension for the year, and will until January 29, 2021. She received a lump sum payment of $27,240 paid at beginning and $135,110 of salary continuance until March 31, 2020 included in the actual salary above. She also received a vacation payout of $33,177. Beyond March 31, 2020, a salary continuance of $224,457, pension of $22,131, benefits of $15,779 and $1,284 in CPP/EI payments will be processed in the 2020/21. In 2019/20 her total was $388,632.

For the record, Northern Health president and CEO Cathy Ulrich had a salary of $333,629 and when benefits and a pension were added in, her total compensation was $381,566.

The College of New Caledonia didn’t pay any severance packages last year.

So while we won’t know what the city has paid its recently departed employees in severance, you can bet it will be in the neighbourhood of some of the above.

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