Former Concordia Administrator Receives $150,000 in Severance Pay

University Changes Policy on Administrative Leave After Widespread Criticism

  • Former Concordia University senior administrator, Benoit-Antoine Bacon has received a $153,220 severance package, according to financial documents released by the university in October. The amount is decided upon based on how long he served in his roles at Concordia. Archive Jonathan Caragay-Cook

Former Concordia University senior administrator, Benoit-Antoine Bacon has received a $153,220 severance package, according to financial documents released by the university in October. The amount is decided upon based on how long he served in his roles at Concordia.

Bacon was appointed as the university’s provost and vice-president of academic affairs in 2013, and served in that role until January 2016, when he left to take on the same role at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

The Office of the Provost oversees all academic affairs, such as curriculum assessments, faculty contract negotiations, and enrolment within the university.

Senior administrators, such as academic deans, the president, and vice-presidents, who either aren’t reappointed to their position, or do not finish their term, are entitled to a year’s worth of administrative leave at the rate of their average salary.

The university’s spokesperson, Mary-Jo Barr said that offering administrative leave to departed senior academic administrators is standard practice around universities across Canada.

“The purpose of the leave is to allow time for the resumption of academic and research activities,” said Barr in an email.

“There is a strong competition for the most competent candidates and we need to be able to offer compensation that reflects the market rate in order to recruit and retain the right caliber of senior academic leaders,” she continued.

Concordia has faced criticism in the past for their severance packages. In February 2016, former Chief Financial Officer Sonia Trudel was given $235,000 after three months of work at Concordia.

“That’s too much money for someone who stayed for just three months,” engineering professor Ted Stathopoulos, president of the Concordia University Faculty Association, told the Montreal Gazette at the time.

Severance packages were awarded on a prorated basis. For example, a senior administrator that completed 50 per cent of their term, would receive 50 per cent of their average salary because they only fulfilled half their contract.

That is no longer the case.

“If you don’t complete your term, you don’t get that payment,” Concordia President Alan Shepard said in an interview in November.

Barr explained that this policy was introduced in contracts that were signed in 2016. Bacon had signed his contract in 2013, and therefore was issued a severance package under the old policy.

The previous version of the story stated that departed employees receive administrative leave. That is not the case, and the story has been updated to reflect that. The Link regrets the error.

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