Possible severance packages for JAG staff detailed

Volunteer chair receives extra $20,000 for consulting public
Cape Breton Post
Saturday, June 19, 2003

The chairman of the Joint Action Group recently received an extra $20,000 from government for time spent consulting the public on ways to cleanup the Sydney tar ponds and coke Ovens site.

That brings the total amount of remuneration for the volunteer position to nearly $65,000 this year.

Chairman Dan Fraser said the position normally allows for a perdiem rate of $180 a day for a minimum of 180 days a year totalling $32,400 annually. A retainer fee of $1,000 a month is also included in the allotment for a maximum of $12,000 each year.

During the public participation process, aimed at selecting cleanug technologies for the toxic sites, Fraser said he was working about 80 hours a week on average. As a result, government permitted him a one time increase on the total number of days he could claim which resulted in the bonus. "The preparation of the short list of options report and the public consultation that followed its release put extraordinary demands on Dan's time," said Parker Donham, provincial spokesperson.

"The province felt the additional stipend was warranted and therefore we agreed to it." Fraser said his remuneration is isolated from salaries paid to the rest of JAG's secretariat and he isn't seeking severance from government once his term ends at JAG's annual general meeting Saturday.

But, some JAG members are recommending that its government partners develop an equitable severance package for the rest of JAG's staff, which is expected to get an official notification of termination by the end of June.

JAG was notified earlier this month that the provincial and federal governments would not continue with a memorandum of understandidg that funded the organization. The MOU was signed by the three levels of government and JAG members in 1997.

That five-year agreement was up for renewal in September but the notice of termination ended that possibility.

Barry McCallum, program co-ordinator, has reviewed termination models used by various levels of government and their Crown corporations such as Sysco and Devco.

He has since summarized that information for an employee with one-year of service, the range of models reviewed would provide from a minimum of no payment to a maximum of 39 weeks payment, with an average of eight weeks severance. For an employee with six years of service, the range is from a minimum of no payment to a maximum of 39 weeks, with an average of 23 weeks severance.

The range of other payments for education and moving is from $0 to $12,000 with the average payment at $4,571.

Full-time salaries at JAG's secretariat are now $37,210 for its executive assistant, $58,530 for its public information officer, $86,700 for its program co-ordinator, $26,550 for its secretary, and $20,580 for an administrative assistant.

In addition, full-time employees have access to medical, dental and pension benefits. A part time administrative assistant is paid $10.55 per hour, a part-time community outreach officer is paid $16.56 an hour and a part-time Website data base administrator is paid $11.69 an hour.

All salaries have been approved by JAG's roundtable members.