A retired judge will be selected to head a panel review of provincial politicians’ pensions, the Speaker of the Nova Scotia legislature announced Wednesday.
Gordie Gosse met with the house leaders from all three parties and said they had agreed that legislative members will have no part in selecting the panel or determining its terms of reference.
“The panel will set the terms of reference, I want them to be completely independent,” Mr. Gosse said.
Mr. Gosse said he had a list of three retired judges and he was in the process of contacting them to see who is available to head the panel.
He said the person who takes on the job will be responsible for selecting two citizens to round out the three-person panel.
Mr. Gosse said he hoped to have the panel in place as soon as possible.
“I will give them a maximum of a six-month time period because that’s how long it took New Brunswick to get theirs (review) done,” he said.
The panel will report back with recommendations that will be non-binding.
Mr. Gosse said members of the legislature will make the final decision in order to avoid specific scenarios.
“The last time salaries were reviewed it came back a little too high and (former premier John) Hamm said no,” Mr. Gosse said.
The opposition Conservatives had been pushing to ensure the pension panel didn’t include past or current elected officials, while the Liberals wanted pay scales reviewed as well.
In a news release, Conservative house leader Chris d’Entremont, who attended the meeting with Mr. Gosse, said his party was in agreement with how to proceed.
“This is the approach that our party’s leader, Jamie Baillie, insisted would be a requirement for our party’s support,” Mr. d’Entremont said.
Mr. Gosse announced the pension review in January, shortly after being appointed Speaker by Premier Darrell Dexter.
Mr. Dexter said he was open to looking at pensions after the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said last fall that the plan was too rich.
The group said taxpayers were contributing $22 for every $1 contributed to the pension plan by members of the legislature.
Legislature members earn 5 per cent of their salary as a pension for every year they work, allowing them to collect a maximum of 75 per cent of their salary after 15 years.
To qualify they must have won two elections and served at least five years.Report Typo/Error
Follow us on Twitter: