Projet Montréal leader decries 'transition allowance' for election losers
MONTREAL – There’s something “fundamentally inequitable” about a civic system that’s paid some losing Union Montreal electoral candidates significantly more than the office-seekers who defeated them in the fall 2009 election, Richard Bergeron of the opposition Projet Montréal party declared Thursday afternoon.
If he becomes mayor in 2013, Bergeron added, he would eliminate a soft-landing system by which electoral losers who are “friends of the regime” pocket a so-called “transition allowance” even when they are instantly placed on another municipal or related payroll.
“With Gérald Tremblay as mayor,” he declared, this double-dipping ensures some “can do better placing third in an election than by being voted in.”
Bergeron offered specific examples – the most notable of which was that of André Lavallée.
Lavallée, who placed third in the race for mayor of the Rosemont borough, pocketed an $89,169 “transition allowance” even though Tremblay quickly hired him as the top non-elected official in the downtown Ville-Marie borough, of which Tremblay is also borough mayor.
The figures are included in a spreadsheet handed out at a Bergeron news conference detailing amounts paid for 2010 to “the top 20 friends of the (Tremblay) regime,” pulled from a mass of data that Bergeron said was obtained through an access-to-information request.
Lavallée’s 2010 salary was $112,200, according to the spreadsheet – but with the transition allowance and another $19,018 of “departure allowance,” his total civic income for the year amounted to $220,387.
Michel Labrecque, who placed third in a run for mayor of the Plateau Mont-Royal borough, also made a remarkably well-cushioned financial landing, Bergeron said.
Labrecque got a “transition allowance” of $57,025 – bringing his annual municipal income for 2010 to $186,660, including a salary of $122,196 – even though he was almost simultaneously appointed the first non-elected board chairman of the Société de Transport de Montréal.
In an initial response, Bernard Larin of Tremblay’s office issued a statement suggesting that Projet Montréal “is leading the population into error, because it gives the impression that the people targeted in their denunciation didn’t work.”
The statement added that the figures cited by Bergeron “have been known since last year.”