It was the biggest event of the year. More highly anticipated than the civic election. More exciting than the launch of the Journey To Churchill exhibit. More compelling than the opening of the Canadian Museum For Human Rights.
It was the release of the City of Winnipeg 2013 compensation disclosure report, and it happened today.
Normally it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this year is different because of Phil.
You know the story very well by now. After overseeing a number of construction fiascoes that cost Winnipeg tax payers millions of dollars, Phil Sheegl quit his job and disappeared before he could be held responsible.
On the way out Sheegl collected a generous severance package as is common for senior executives who leave their employers … or so we thought. Many people silently guessed at just how much he was paid as severance, but we didn’t know because the City wouldn’t tell us.
Now we do, or at least we should have a pretty good idea. A few assumptions are required here, but I spent 6 years studying economics so making assumptions comes naturally to me.
In 2012 Sheegl pulled in $241,589. A pretty decent salary. This may include an annual bonus or other compensation but for easy calculating let’s figure it as wages.
He resigned on Oct 17 2013. His pro-rated salary for 2013 would be about $197,700, factoring in a routine annual pay increase. His actual 2013 compensation was $235,334, which mean that his golden handshake, assuming it came as a lump sum, was worth approximately:
I don’t know about you but that seems absurdly low. Having been laid off myself I have an idea of what a severance payment looks like, and things are usually different in the lofty world of senior executives. Senior executives are entitled to their entitlements, even if their entitlements don’t seem fair. This makes a severance payment equal to a tiny fraction of his annual salary very difficult to believe. Was part of it deferred? Is there something else going on here? Maybe that really is all he got, in which case I would be pretty happy. A small price to pay to get rid of bad CAO in my books.
Taz Stuart was much more beloved than Phil Sheegl, but similar in that he made a big impression in a job that’s usually more behind the scenes. He left under mysterious circumstances, which makes me more curious than I otherwise would be about what kind of send off HE got. So …
In 2012 Taz made a cool 100 grand. Using the same logic as above, we can figure his severance as $4417 — an amount small enough that it could easily be due to a larger pay increase than assumed or some other factor.
Taz was with the city for about 9 years. If somebody is terminated without notice or cause, they must be paid severance in lieu of notice. This can range widely from one job to another. A fairly common benchmark would be a month of salary plus 2 weeks for every year worked. This would work out to about $45,000 for Taz. On the other hand if a person resigns then no severance is generally owed. Did Taz get fed up and quit? Looks like maybe that was the case, based on this report.
… not that it’s any of my business. But curious none the less.
feature image source: cbc.ca