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Premier Clark's staff changes cost $2.4 million in severance

British Columbia taxpayers funded more than $2.4 million in severance payments for senior people fired after Premier Christy Clark took power.

They include:

$549,776 to Alan Seckel, deputy minister to the premier and cabinet secretary;

$416,191 to Martyn Brown, deputy minister and former chief of staff to the premier;

$337,413 to Lesley Du Toit, deputy minister for children and family development;

$323,917 to Ron Norman, head of the public affairs bureau;

$192,886 to Lara Dauphinee, executive assistant to the premier and deputy chief of staff;

$117,930 to Jeff Hanman, deputy chief of staff;

$113,955 to Paul Taylor, chief of staff;

$108,193 to Dale Steeves, director of communications;

$75,698 to Michael Harrison, ministerial assistant;

$72,994 to June Phillips, executive assistant;

$51,033 to Christine Willows, administrative coordinator;

$33,810 to Cathy Armstrong, administrative coordinator; and

$31,183 to Richard Davis, ministerial assistant.

The amounts do not include executive holdbacks, or performance pay, for Du Toit or Norman, which a government release says are yet to be determined.

The BC Liberal government changed the Public Sector Employers Act in 2002 to reduce the number of months salary payable as severance from 24 months to 18, said Finance Minister Kevin Falcon.

"It's always a lot of money of course, but it's now done to new more stringent rules," he said. "I think we have to treat people fairly. People who've been let go from government need to be treated fairly."

New Democratic Party finance critic Bruce Ralston said the payments are so high because of how salaries have been inflated under the Liberals.

"These kinds of severances reflect the salary increases that were brought about for deputy ministers, assistant deputy ministers and political staff in 2006," he said. "I think for the average British Columbian . . . that will be very difficult to understand this range of money for severance."

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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