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Province terminating three BC Rail executive contracts, paying severance

Two B.C. Railway Company executives will collect a total of almost $600,000 in severance payments when they lose their jobs by the end of March.

Transportation and infrastructure minister Shirley Bond provided the details yesterday under questioning in the legislature from New Democratic Party MLA's Leonard Krog and Doug Donaldson about what will happen when the government moves B.C. Rail into the provincial government.

Three of B.C. Rail's four executives will lose their jobs this year, Bond said. Two, president and CEO Kevin Mahoney and executive vice-president real estate John Lusney, have been given their notice and will go by March 31. They'll receive severance payments of $392,000 and $203,000, though Bond did not say who will receive which amount.

Bond said the government will employ B.C. Rail's CFO until around December, but he has not yet been given notice and the severance payment amount has not yet been determined. B.C. Rail's vice-president finance and CFO is Kevin Steinberg.

The government will keep a fourth executive, B.C. Rail's vice-president operations and corporate affairs, Gordon Westlake, Bond said. “There is a significant degree of work that we'll be transferring over to the ministry,” she said. There is a significant real estate portfolio and the CN revitalization agreement to manage, she said.

“It's about time and one wonders what the delay was,” said NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston, noting the four executives have continued collecting their full salaries despite overseeing an operation that “shrank dramatically” in 2004.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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