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Pallister calls severance payouts after leadership battle 'government waste'

Brian Pallister speaks to reporters Friday.

LARRY KUSCH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Brian Pallister speaks to reporters Friday.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/5/2015 (1386 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Opposition Leader Brian Pallister condemned today the severance payouts made by the Selinger government to seven ex-political staffers who fell victim to the recent NDP leadership fight.

“This is a classic example of government waste,” Pallister said. “Why Manitobans should be expected to pay a departure tax for the premier’s flare up with his colleagues in the leadership race is beyond me. The NDP should foot the bill, frankly.

“This is not right. It’s hurting Manitobans. It’s layering another cost at their feet that they don’t deserve to have to put there.”

The NDP released the total $670,000 cost of the severance payouts late Thursday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/5/2015 (1386 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Opposition Leader Brian Pallister condemned today the severance payouts made by the Selinger government to seven ex-political staffers who fell victim to the recent NDP leadership fight.

"This is a classic example of government waste," Pallister said. "Why Manitobans should be expected to pay a departure tax for the premier’s flare up with his colleagues in the leadership race is beyond me. The NDP should foot the bill, frankly.

"This is not right. It’s hurting Manitobans. It’s layering another cost at their feet that they don’t deserve to have to put there."

The NDP released the total $670,000 cost of the severance payouts late Thursday.

The seven staffers who've left the Selinger government are: Anna Rothney, former cabinet priorities and planning secretary; Meaghan Dewar, head of issues management for the executive council; Matt Williamson, former director of communications; Jen Anthony, director of issues management for the government; Alissa Brandt, director of the premier's secretariat; Sally Housser, associate director of cabinet communications; and Liam Martin, former chief of staff to Premier Greg Selinger.

Martin’s severance package alone was $146,047.

Premier Greg Selinger did not scrum with reporters after question period Friday.

In a prepared statement, he said the individual amount of payouts to each of the six other ex-staffers would not be released because of privacy reasons.

He said each package is in accordance with legal advice, contract terms and years of service.

"Severance is a normal part of government and private business," the premier said in the statement issued today. "It is not unusual for governments across the country to negotiate severance agreements.

"I can confirm that we have completed mutual separation agreements with seven individuals. The global amount is $670,000. These payments were negotiated based on legal advice and follow standard human resource practice.

"I don’t comment on individual personnel matters and respect the privacy of our staff, past and present."

Rothney, Anthony and Housser became involved in the winning campaign of Alberta premier-elect Rachel Notley after leaving the Manitoba NDP government.

The Progressive Conservatives have said the total of the severance packages could reach $1 million, and up to 10 political staffers who worked for leadership rival Theresa Oswald might be purged.

A government spokesman said only the seven have left government.

Selinger narrowly defeated Oswald to retain the NDP leadership on March 8. Former cabinet minister Steve Ashton also contested the leadership.

Ashton has since been returned to cabinet as infrastructure and transportation minister. Oswald was offered a cabinet position in a recent shuffle, but declined.

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