The former CEO of MPI has received a $50,000 consulting contract from the auto insurer despite a provincial rule forbidding former senior civil servants from obtaining government or Crown corporation work within a year of leaving office.
Marilyn McLaren retired Feb. 21 after 35 years with Manitoba Public Insurance, the last nine as its top executive.
On March 26, the Manitoba cabinet passed an order to override the provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act -- as is its right under that law.
The Conservatives questioned the need for that and demanded to know what severance McLaren got when she left MPI.
She gave notice in early October of her retirement. Conservative house leader Kelvin Goertzen said McLaren had expressed confidence in her staff when she announced her retirement.
She was replaced by Dan Guimond, a 30-year MPI employee. "(McLaren) said that she was leaving (MPI) in good hands," Goertzen said. "She was very confident about the people she was leaving to do the job. And then 30 days later, cabinet overruled the law with an order in council and hired her on to a contract."
Goertzen added that after more than three decades with the MPI, McLaren likely got a handsome severance package.
"You shouldn't be having the severance package if you're coming back to work in 30 days," he said. He demanded the government disclose the amount of the severance.
Andrew Swan, minister responsible for MPI, refused. "What is important is that there is additional work that she will do for the corporation," he said.
Swan said MPI requested McLaren be retained as an adviser and cabinet agreed. He said it's "very common" for public and private corporations to contract with a former CEO after retirement.
-- Larry Kusch