A Friday afternoon special

Less than an appropriate amount of ado has been made out of last week's decision to increase the salaries for senior bureaucrats and - most egregiously - political aides. To wit, in some cases, ministerial assistants - who now top out at $94,500 - will be making more than the base salary for a MLA: $75,400. But what hasn't been reported yet is that, last week, our good friends at the legislative assembly management committee voted to boost the budgets for constituency offices by $35,000 annually to $119,000. And, at that same closed door meeting, they hiked the amount of money each caucus gets by $5,000 per member. Funny old world eh? The following is a complete copy of the news release announcing those increases.

Honourable Bill Barisoff, MLA
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2006

CONSTITUENCY OFFICE FUNDING

VICTORIA - The Legislative Assembly Management Committee has approved additional funding to enable Members of the Legislative Assembly to better serve their constituents. Included are an amount of $35,000 per Member for constituency expenses and an additional $5,000 per Member for parliamentary offices. Both increases will allow Members to obtain the services necessary to provide better assist their constituents.

Members have many demands made upon them from Victoria and their ridings which will be eased by this additional funding. Each constituency is different: large rural and coastal remote ridings demand more travel, resulting in greater operating costs. Urban ridings have different demands, such as a greater number of constituents to serve.

It is vital that Members receive the support they need to be effective in their roles. Members need to be funded appropriately with the proper guidelines in place to assure the public that these funds are being spent prudently.

These allowances were raised minimally in 2002.

The expenditure of these funds will be in strict accordance with the current financial management policies of the Legislative Assembly.

For further information about the work of the Committee please contact the Speaker.

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4 Comments

I can't believe this government is giving even more of our tax dollars to reward political cronies with no public accountability, at the same time they're fighting in court to deny the use of tax dollars for the most basic supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. And I assume this is once again a bipartisan decision?

(And I can't believe I'm the only taxpayer who's appalled, so I'll put the silence down to timing on a slow, hot summer weekend.)

I could support the increase of funding for constituency services if there was a hope in hell of the funding actually being used to serve constituents' interests. Like thousands of other concerned family members, I've spent years trying to bring successive governments' and MLAs' attention to the mishandling of services for and mistreatment of those constituents who are least able to speak for themselves. It's crystal clear to me that no amount of constituency office funding will ever change a thing as long as the political will is nonexistent.

I guess the fact that there are no postings on this one reveals that either peoelp are in agrrement with the gov't move on political staff salries ..... or they dont care

MA s salries previously toppped out a ridiculously low 70 K . These are senior and important jobs and if the gov't wants to a good job of attracting and retaining (which it wasnt doing much of either) it realized that the rate woudl have to go up

They wont really make more than MLAs , the avg salary will top out about 85 k. MLAs when you add up thier "extras" for sitting on cttees etc , make more than this

Furthermore , Communications Directors already make more than MLAs so whats the big deal if MAs do ?

Lastly , its not a question of MAs overpaid its that MLAs are drastically underpaid . If we want to get good peoel in office we have to compensate them fairly. At 75 K they are making (much) less thatn the tradespeoke that they repsresent !

Nice to hear that all the "good" people are now making more than $75K, because the average salary for most of us "regular" constituents out here who are paying their salaries is still well under $40K.

...and if you're unfortunate enough to have an IQ of 71, it's $0K (and that's "zero" K, not "okay").

I am also very concerned at the lack of postings regarding this story. It's very frustrating to fight like hell for public sector wages that reflect the importance of the tasks performed and then watch a government claim that wage increases are necessary to recruit and retain good people. Apparently it is not that important to recruit and retain the best people in health care or education, only in politics. Why are we few the only ones outraged? Is it possible that everyone is so used to hearing this tune that they don't pay attention anymore? It's enough to turn one into a cynic!

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