College boss more accountable than deputy ministers

By John Thompson News Reporter Terry Weninger, president of Yukon College, was paid $185,000 last year. Weniger agreed to disclose his salary, in sharp contrast to Yukon's deputy ministers, whose salaries are kept secret. So it goes in the Yukon...

Terry Weninger, president of Yukon College, was paid $185,000 last year.

Weniger agreed to disclose his salary, in sharp contrast to Yukon’s deputy ministers, whose salaries are kept secret.

So it goes in the Yukon, where the privacy of some highly paid civil servants is worth more than others.

Deputies received salaries in the range of $138,897 to $180,403 in 2008. But their actual salaries are secret. So are their performance bonuses, which may range up to eight per cent of their salaries.

This is unusual. Salaries paid to deputies are disclosed in every jurisdiction in the country, other than in the three territories, PEI and New Brunswick.

And in a strange twist, it appears some government-owned agencies, such as the college and Yukon Energy Corp., are more open and transparent than government departments.

David Morrison, president and CEO of Yukon Energy, received $223,490 in 2008.

The public utility’s board agreed to release Morrison’s salary because he’s paid with public money.

Of course, this is equally true with deputy ministers, who effectively run government departments.

Yet Yukon’s Public Service Commission won’t disclose actual salaries or performance bonuses. Releasing such information would be an unreasonable violation of privacy under Yukon’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the commission argues.

The News is appealing the decision with Yukon’s access to information commissioner.

Other jurisdictions, such as Alberta, have gotten around similar privacy restrictions through the passage of an order of council. But Yukon’s cabinet ministers, who were elected on a platform of running open and transparent government, have so far shown no interest in following a similar route — or even discussing the subject.

The News also asked deputy ministers to voluntarily disclose their salaries, as Weninger did. None replied.

Craig Tuton, chair of the boards of the Yukon Hospital Corp. and the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board, has agreed to release CEO salaries for both institutions. But he was away on travel Thursday and was unable to respond before press time.

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