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PC cabinet approved Premier's office hires: Smith

EDMONTON, AB (April 7, 2014): PC cabinet ministers approved the hires of former Premier Alison Redford’s senior staff and are directly responsible for the outrageous salaries and severance they collected from Alberta taxpayers, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today. Last week, it was revealed that nine departing Redford staffers received $1.3 million in severance and vacation payouts following her resignation, including over $400,000 for her chief of staff Farouk Adatia. Today in question period, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith revealed that the appointments of Adatia, Director of Communications Stefan Baranski, Principal Secretary Lee Richardson and Director of Operations Darren Cunningham were approved by cabinet through orders in council in 2012 (follow the links to read the orders). Between the four of them, they took home $943,857.89 in severance and vacation payouts. “The PCs can’t hide behind their former leader on this one,” Smith said. “Every single member of the cabinet who sat around that table had a hand in allowing these ridiculous salaries and severances to be dumped on Alberta taxpayers.” The PC cabinet also approved an increase in the maximum salaries for senior Premier’s office staff. On May 31, 2012, they passed an order in council capping the chief of staff salary at $264,576. Less than a month later they increased that maximum to $275,159. However, Adatia’s salary came in at $316,274.66, more than $40,000 over and above the increased maximum. “Not only did the PC cabinet hike the maximum salaries of senior political appointees right after being re-elected, but then they proceeded to violate their own limits,” Smith said.  “It has become all too convenient for would-be PC leaders to blame all these things on the previous leader, but the reality is they’re directly responsible for creating and maintaining the PC culture of entitlement.”