Some of the highest paid public sector employees in 2018 left their positions over the past year, as a new pay grid was phased in for Alberta post-secondary presidents and senior staff of agencies, boards and commissions. 

According to salary information released Friday, David Erickson, former president and chief executive officer of the Alberta Electric System Operator, was the top earner last year, with a base salary of $925,997 and benefits of $11,535, which added up to $937,532 in total compensation 

Guy Kerr, former president of the Workers’ Compensation Board, came second with a base salary of $730,214 and $177,635 in benefits, which totalled $907,849.

Both men left their positions in 2018.

Jim Ellis, president of the Alberta Energy Regulator, earned $570,640 in salary and $121,761 in non-taxable benefits for total earnings of $692,401 last year. Ellis left the AER at the end of January.

The presidents of three universities were among the highest earners in 2018: David Docherty, president of Mount Royal University ($709,404 base salary, $28,116 in non-taxable benefits, total compensation $737,520); David Turpin, president of the University of Alberta ($674,597 in base salary, $91,606 in non-taxable benefits); and Elizabeth Cannon, president of the University of Calgary ($647,517 base salary, $36,544 in non-taxable benefits).

Cannon left the U of C at the end of 2018. Docherty left MRU to become the president of Brandon University at the start of May. Turpin will not seek a second term as U of A president when his current contract ends in June 2020. 

The salaries of public sector employees who make more than $108,784 are disclosed at the end of June each year. The latest data covers salaries paid during the 2018 calendar year. 

The former NDP government revamped the salaries paid to executives of agencies, boards and commissions, which included the presidents of post-secondary institutions. 

New hires will be paid according to a grid system, putting salaries more in line with what is earned by senior civil servants. For example, the future presidents of the University of Calgary and University of Alberta will be paid in the range of $349,800 to $447,000. The salary grid took effect in April 2018 for new hires or at the start of a new contract. 

None of the departing executives indicated publicly they were leaving due to the lower pay. 

Former DM top public servant 

Marcia Nelson, the former deputy minister of executive council, earned the most of any Alberta government employee last year. Nelson’s total compensation was $487,137, with a base salary of $357,347 and $129,790 in cash and non-cash benefits. 

Not everyone on the list has left their positions. 

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, and Patrick Dumelie, president of Covenant Health, also made the top 10. 

Yiu earned $576,856 in salary and $78,769 in non-taxable benefits last year for a total of $655,625 in compensation. Dumelie earned $587,443 in 2018 with a base salary of $554,952 and $32,491 in non-taxable benefits. 

Other high earners include: David Linder, executive director of the Alberta Securities Commission ($461,248 salary, $133,530 in non-taxable benefits, total compensation of $594,778); Randall Morck, professor at the University of Alberta ($529,927 salary, $51,584 non-taxable benefits, total compensation of $581,511); and Wendy Gosse, vice-president of the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta ($478,444 salary, $110,135 non-taxable benefits, total compensation of $588,578).



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