Extra lean: that seems to be how conservatives prefer their governments. So it came as no surprise when the premier and his cabinet colleagues liposuctioned the civil service during their first term in office. For example, in fiscal 2000/01 there were 3,282 full time equivalents working in the health ministry. Today, there are 2,852 - a 13 percent reduction, as some branches of that ministry have been out-sourced or put under new management. But not everyone at health has been put on a diet plan. The government's 2000 phone directory lists six civil servants at health as having the title of assistant deputy minister, associate deputy minister or deputy minister (the most senior bureaucratic ranks). But, today, the ministry has 12 senior bureaucrats - bureaucrats who are now receiving bigger pay cheques than ever before thanks to a mid-summer pay raise.
So why does the ministry need 100 percent more high-priced civil servants today then they needed back in 2000? Communications director Marisa Adair explained the situation this way: "What you see within the structure is the recognition of a more complex healthcare system. And we're recognizing some of the major developments and trends in the healthcare system that require real strategic leadership" - such as a growing emphasis on population health and wellness, as well as e-health - "so we can provide the best services for British Columbia."