Watchdog urges reform of ‘costly’ council pensions
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.
Colin Craig, interim alberta Director of the Canadian taxpayers Federation.