EDITOR’S NOTE: A Times-Colonist article Sept. 28 entitled ’26 top managers gone, $2.475M in severance paid by City of Victoria’ clarified Grumpy$ estimate by confirming that $2.475-million in severance was paid to senior management between 2013-16 by the City.  The article also stated that “In 2015, total compensation for non-unionized staff was $5.7-million, and in 2016, non union salary amounted to $6.4-million. Both figures do not include taxable benefits and payouts.”

The safest thing to do during an earthquake is to ‘drop, cover and hold on’, something you also might want to do if you work in management at the City of Victoria.

Between Jan. 2013 and Dec. 2016, an estimated $3-million dollars in severances was paid out to 26 senior managers who quit, retired or were fired. The figures exclude monies paid to unionized staff or police.

“Why is the sea of change in management at city hall continuing and is millions in severance justified?” asks Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria.

“This high rate of attrition is not unusual in the corporate world, but must be questioned when it happens in the public sector because of it’s impact on taxpayers.”

Compared to other jurisdictions like the larger District of Saanich – where there were just four management severances between 2013-16 – the frequency of City of Victoria changes are unprecedented and costly.

The revolving door is continuing with the recent departure of the city’s general manager Jason Johnson, paid out with a severance of $275,000 after only 3.5 years on the job, says Bartlett.

The 26 severance agreements paid out to non-unionized employees during the period 2014-16 is the equivalent of 20 years of compensation. Of the 55 staff listed as non-unionized management in 2014, about 40 per cent of them weren’t around at the end of 2016, according to public statements of financial information.

Using an average management salary in 2014 of about $120,000, it puts the severance payouts at more than $3-million for the 26 departing staff during the four-year period.

Some of the changes at the City of Victoria were as a result of the August 2014 organizational report by Maximus Canada that recommended a major shakeup at city hall. The current administration was elected in Nov. 2014.

The questions remain for taxpayers, ‘Has the City of Victoria’s practice of offering egregious and overly generous severance packages as part of new contracts to management employees stopped?’