Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA in the dark on recall severance deal

Ida Chong said she had no idea the severance decision had been made.

Premier Christy Clark has questioned a decision made in secret by an all-party committee to extend $127,000 in severance pay to MLAs who are recalled by voters.

The decision was made in February 2011, at a time when recall campaigns targeted B.C. Liberal MLAs over the imposition of the harmonized sales tax.

It was belatedly disclosed in minutes from the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, which began public disclosure of its proceedings this fall after a critical report from B.C. Auditor General John Doyle.

The severance amount equals 15 months of an MLA’s base salary, which was frozen at $101,859 a year in 2010, when the B.C. government imposed a two-year freeze on public service salaries.

Clark said the government doesn’t control the committee, which is chaired by legislative speaker Bill Barisoff and has B.C. Liberal and NDP members.

“I think a lot of people in a tough economy would look at that and say they don’t get it, and I am one of those people,” Clark said.

Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong said she is one of those people too.

She was the first B.C. Liberal MLA targeted in the 2010-11 recall campaign and said she had no idea the severance decision had been made.

“That’s exactly when I was going through recall, and I had no indication, not that that would’ve changed anything,” she said on Friday. “That would’ve been an insult to voters. I was certainly not expecting anything of that nature.”

Chong says she “would be fine” with seeing the recall severance decision reversed.

“That was a decision made at LAMC. I’m not at those meetings and none of us see those minutes,” she said.

Barisoff defended the decision Thursday, telling reporters that MLAs who are recalled because of cabinet decisions rather than personal misconduct deserve severance so they can make the transition to another job. It can be difficult for defeated MLAs to find work, he said.

– with files from Kyle Slavin and Tom Fletcher

tfletcher@blackpress.ca

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Victoria man out $6,000 in latest gift card phone scam

Fraudsters claimed to be a member of a bank’s “fraud sting team”

Homes fit for royals for sale in North Saanich

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have returned to Greater Victoria

Gold Rush star dons Lucky Lager shirt in latest episode

Brennan Ruault, originally from Invermere, joined the show in the sixth season

VIDEO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Activists want Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demands to be upheld, observed and respected

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan Tribes death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read