Watch­dog urges re­form of ‘costly’ coun­cil pen­sions

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY NEWS - He­Len Pike/FOr MeTrO

No more pen­sion par­ties.

The Cana­dian Tax­pay­ers Fed­er­a­tion is tak­ing aim at Cal­gary coun­cil­lors’ cushy pen­sions, of which there are two sep­a­rate plans, af­ter find­ing ci­ti­zens have forked over $5.8 mil­lion be­tween 2007 and 2016, while coun­cil only con­trib­uted $1.2 mil­lion.

But for the sec­ond pen­sion plan the city spent $329,177 be­tween 2008 and 2016, bring­ing the to­tal tax­payer’s con­tri­bu­tion up to $6.1 mil­lion

The tax watch­dog found that mayor Na­heed Nen­shi is the only mem­ber of coun­cil who cur­rently qual­i­fies for both pen­sions, ac­cord­ing to an ad­min­is­tra­tive pre­sen­ta­tion dated Nov. 24, 2016.

“Even then, it’s not quite com­plete data be­cause we only got ma­te­rial for the pe­riod of 2008 to 2016. The city said they don’t have the 2007 num­bers,” said CTF In­terim Al­berta Di­rec­tor Colin Craig.

He said it’s time to stream­line the pen­sion plans.

Dur­ing the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion, coun­cil­lors Sean Chu, Ge­orge Cha­hal, Jeff Dav­i­son and Shane Keat­ing all agreed to put for­ward a mo­tion that would re­form the pen­sions.

“The sta­tus quo is not fair for tax­pay­ers,” said Craig. “They should put coun­cil on a less costly pen­sion plan, one that’s a dol­lar-for-dol­lar matched de­fined con­tri­bu­tion plan.”

Craig said they haven’t an­a­lyzed other ju­ris­dic­tion’s pen­sion plans but did note that Ed­mon­ton’s coun­cil­lor pack­ages are more af­ford­able for the tax­payer.

“We think it’s the right thing to do for tax­pay­ers,” said Craig.

Coun. Jeromy Farkas said he couldn’t com­ment di­rectly on the re­port be­cause he hadn’t read it, but did say pen­sions are a place to look for sav­ings.

HE­LEN PIkE/METRO

Colin Craig, in­terim al­berta Di­rec­tor of the Cana­dian tax­pay­ers Fed­er­a­tion.

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