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Severance packages for retiring mayor, councillors will cost Ottawa taxpayers $500,000

Ottawa City Hall. (File photo) Ottawa City Hall. (File photo)

Ottawa taxpayers will be on the hook for more than $500,000 in severance packages for Mayor Jim Watson and the eight councillors not seeking re-election this fall.

The city of Ottawa provides a "transition allowance" of one month's pay for each consecutive year of service, up to a maximum of six months, for members of council who are defeated on Election Day or decide not to seek re-election.  

As of today, Watson and eight councillors have said they will not be seeking re-election in the Oct. 24 election, and qualify for the severance package.

The current salary for the mayor of Ottawa is $198,702 a year, while a councillor earns $111,111.

If the nine elected officials not currently seeking re-election decide to accept the transition allowance, it would cost the city of Ottawa $525,273. Severance packages would also be paid to any councillor who decides not to seek re-election before the Aug. 19 cut-off date, or who are not re-elected on Oct. 24.

Watson would be eligible for a transition allowance of $99,351 after serving three terms as mayor of Ottawa (12 years). Watson announced in December he would not be seeking re-election.

Retiring councillors Eli El-Chantiry (three terms), Jean Cloutier (two terms), Diane Deans (eight terms), Keith Egli (three terms), Jan Harder (seven terms), Mathieu Fleury (three terms) and Scott Moffatt (three terms) would be eligible for a transition allowance of $9,259.25 a month for six months.  The seven councillors would each receive $55,555.

Coun. Carol Anne Meehan would be eligible for a four-month transition allowance of $9,259.25 a month after serving one, four year-term, totalling $37,037.

Any councillor defeated while running for re-election would also be eligible for the transition allowance. 

"Elected Officials at the City of Ottawa are eligible for a Transition Assistance Allowance as recommended by the Citizen’s Task Force on Council Remuneration report, and as amended through the approval of the 2010-2014 Mid-term Governance Review," City Clerk Rick O'Connor said in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

Eligibility for the Transition Allowance came into effect in December 2006. Every outgoing member of council is entitled to a three-month career transition program.

O'Connor says outgoing council members returning to their previous job or elected by another level of government are not eligible to receive the severance package.

Elected officials leaving office are not entitled to Employment Insurance. Top Stories

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