Retired and defeated MLAs will share $15 million transition allowance

Five Central Alberta defeated and retired MLAs are slated to walk away with roughly $2.4 million in severance packages.

Five Central Alberta defeated and retired MLAs are slated to walk away with roughly $2.4 million in severance packages.

The amount makes up a portion of the nearly $15 million in transition allowance that are to be paid to Alberta’s 35 defeated and retiring MLAs. The amounts are based on three months of salary for each year of service and were released by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

While other provinces also pay defeated MLAs, Alberta is the only province which pays more than one year’s severance.

At the top of the list is former Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre PC MLA Ty Lund who served the area since 1989. The 74-year-old veteran will take away an estimated transition allowance of $830,000, plus a $97,975 RRSP.

Newly elected Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin, who defeated Lund, said the public understands that severance pay is an issue and decided on where they stood on it during the election.

“We think that the pay packages for the MLAs are too large and too gracious and we think it should align more with the private sector,” Anglin said Thursday.

Three-time PC cabinet minister Luke Ouellette, who represented the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding since 2001, will take away $515,000 with an RRSP estimated at $97,975. He was defeated by Wildrose’s Kerry Towle.

Jack Hayden, former Tory MLA for Drumheller-Stettler who served the riding since 2007, is to receive $230,000 with an RRSP of $52,225. Hayden was defeated by Wildrose’s Rick Strankman.

Central Alberta MLAs who chose to retire before the election will also receive the transition allowance and RRSP contributions.

Richard Marz, PC MLA who served the for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills riding for 15 years, will receive $546,000 and an RRSP contribution of $97,975. Marz had earlier announced he was not seeking re-election. However, he resigned his post one month before the election, after speaking out against Premier Alison Redford’s decision to order all PC MLAs to pay back the money they received for being on the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing which had not met since 2008.

Ray Prins, who was first elected to represent the Lacombe-Ponoka riding in 2004, will receive an estimated $275,000 and an RRSP contribution from taxpayers of $77,225. Prins chose to withdraw his PC candidacy days before the election after receiving criticism as chair of the standing committee that earned a monthly cheque despite not meeting since 2008.

Redford has pledged to implement the recommendations of a retired Supreme Court justice John Major who is reviewing MLA compensation. She also promised to suspend future transition allowance. Major is slated to deliver his report to the legislature by May 3.

jjones@bprda.wpengine.com

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