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Newfoundland and Labrador government releases ‘sunshine list’ of provincial employees earning $100K+

Finance Minister Tom Osborne speaks to reporters Friday outside the House of Assembly.
N.L. Finance Minister Tom Osborne . - Joe Gibbons

There were two types of sunshine making people blink on Friday — one was from that rarely-seen-of-late ball of fire in the sky, the other was the annual sunshine list of provincial government and public body employees who get paid more than $100,000 per year.

The list, for the year 2017, includes numerous positions such as deputy ministers taking home more than $200,000 (including severance payouts), to provincial ferry captains and other ferry workers riding a wave well over the $100,000 mark.

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There are the expected high salaries such as at the Nalcor head office where the range ends at $661,000, and many positions throughout the lists in which you would not expect the salary to be more than $100,000.

And there are some well-known names on the alphabetical lists among the many who are not so well-known.

While it may be of interest reviewing the list for the names of people you may know, there are some areas where names are exempted from disclosure for a specific reasons allowed under the legislation.

All the 2017 public sector compensation listings which can be found online at www.exec.gov.nl.ca/exec/hrs/compensation_disclosure/index.html.

The lists include all employees in government and specified public bodies including agencies, boards, commissions, health-care bodies, educational bodies and Crown corporations who receive total compensation of over $100,000 a year.

The lists are broken down into the various areas of government and public bodies and agencies.

This is the second year the provincial government has published these lists, in accordance with the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act (PSCTA) that passed in December 2016.

“It is important for the people of the province to have access to information about government spending in an open and transparent way,” Finance Minister Tom Osborne said in a news release.

“We respect the right of citizens to access information on how public funds are used and are committed to practice strong fiscal management on behalf of the people of this province.”

Included in the lists are the names of the employees, official job titles and names of the department or public bodies in which they are employed. Total compensation, inclusive of a breakdown of base salary, overtime, shift premiums, retroactive pay, bonuses and other compensation, as well as severance where applicable, are also outlined.

The press release notes the act provides that an employee may be exempted from disclosure if the release of their information could reasonably be expected to result in a threat to the safety, or mental or physical health of the employee. There are no other grounds for granting individual employees an exemption to disclosure.

In 2016, a group exemption was granted for certain classes of positions within the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association (RNCA). Based on the application of the provisions of the PSCTA, the names of police officers who are members of the RNCA and included in these particular classes, are exempted. However, the title and total compensation paid these police officers are still published.

glen.whiffen@thetelegram.com

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