Inland Strategies Communications Management Services Ltd. co-owner and former communications manager Laurie Best has to have a love/hate relationship with the provincial government. Some bureaucrats seem to hate the fact that the government, specifically health services and planning deputy minister Penny Ballem we're told, seems to love her so much that, since fiscal 2001/02, has paid $444,343 (almost half-a-million dollars for those who are counting, including expenses) to Ms. Best and her company, according to public accounts records. Those monies, as previously reported by The Times Colonist's Les Leyne and Monday Magazine's Russ Francis, include the cost of shuttling Ms. Best (who left government in 1998) back and forth from Victoria to her Kamloops home - which she shares with her partner Brent Humphrey.
So Public Eye, with the presumed good will of almost everyone working at the underpaid public affairs bureau, filed a freedom of information request asking for copies of her expense claims, along with every contract ever issued to Inland Strategies since the election. Little did we know this request would dig up 340 pages of material! That's right: 340 pages of contracts, expense claims and the accompanying selection/evaluation documents. Ms. Best sure has been busy. Of course, before Public Eye can get a copy, we've been told we need to pay a $415 entrance fee. Needless to say, we're planning to appeal.
Inland Strategies Communications Management Services Payments
Fiscal 1998/99 - $53,916
Fiscal 1999/00 - $32,192
Fiscal 2000/01 - $104,519
Fiscal 2001/02 - $60,142
Fiscal 2002/03 - $212,081
Fiscal 2003/04 - $172,611