Prelude to a Kiss

Commenting on his decision to increase the maximum payable salaries for deputy and assistant deputy minister, Premier Gordon Campbell told reporters in Beijing, "We've always said we wanted to be about third in the country in terms of remuneration. That's exactly where we are." And later, during the same scrum, he again said, "We've always set the mark of trying to be about third in the marketplace in Canada. That's where we are." But, just last month, the provincial public service made this statement in a report detailing its executive compensation philosophy: "The province's target position for executive compensation in the public sector market is to be from 3rd to 5th nationally amongst the provincial and federal governments." Fancy that!


Expressing a goal (after being elected) of achieving pay rates that are 3rd to 5th nationally for senior public servants implies that this is a wise measurement, that it’s been qualified and quantified. What proof is there that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ranked aren’t being grossly overpaid? Can we take the government at it’s word that this is in our best interest – with no proof? The recent HUGE raises to bring BC up to 3rd place prove the validity of that question when you look at how many people will have to work full time just to generate the tax dollars to pay these new salaries.

Let's review…

43% increase in wages for DMs and ADMs. $154,000 severance packages. 3 months work at $75,000 to re-hire a retired director. $150,000 to a contractor to provide results that appear to have been nothing more than a rubber stamp of the governments pre-conceived agenda.

This is rich payoff to a very select few. What exactly are these people and firms delivering that warrants these increases? Where are their qualifications? How are the taxpayers receiving value for their money spent on these people?

On the other side of the coin:

B.C.’s general minimum wage is $8 per hour or $14,000 per year! (35 hrs/wk, 2 wks vacation)
The First Job/Entry Level minimum wage is $6 per hour or $10,500 per year!! (35 hrs/wk, 2 wks vacation). It should be noted that those incomes are unlikely to come with benefits, pensions, training or employee appreciation ceremonies or fleece vests and scarfs.

In organizations in the private sector whose core task is to make money (as opposed to spending it like government) senior executive staff have incomes that fluctuate that reflect the annual earning of the company. Many corporate entities hold themselves to the 1 to 8 standard – the highest paid person in a company should not make more than 8 times the lowest salary in that firm.

It will take all the tax income from 164 people working full time at the minimum wage of 6/hr to pay for Jessica Macdonalds salary alone! That’s just for the salary, let alone all the benefits, perks and expenses.

It will take all the tax income from 8,319 people working full time at the minimum wage of 6/hr to pay for the 20 dms and 80 adms. This does not include all the many OTHER public servants receiving comparable wages outside of those two categories or in the ubiquitous ‘acting’ roles.

This is Gordon's sixth great goal.

I wish there was an election tomorrow.

Sean, is it possible to find out what the total pay package is for these people?

It would be useful to be know the total tax burden is to employ these people, and the costs of their pensions.

Base Salary
Health Benefits
Housing subsidies
Pension amount
Cost of expenses/benefits that continue after retirement
Car allowances
and all the other perks of government employment that are only open to senior staff.

I've been led to believe that a public servant making 60k a year has a total taxpayer burden of just over 100k per year. Knowing how this translates for the top wages would reveal their true total compensation packages.

Any Human Resource department worth its salt would have these numbers readily available, and since the head of the bc gov hr just got a huge raise the numbers are surely there for easy reporting. I mean.. who could justify an increase when they can't even report out on baseline numbers like total pay package costs? Not even possible - Jess would have to have these numbers.

Public servants can't ask these questions of their management(cries of insubordination).

Sean, your headlines are FABULOUS - always! and Martin, you're amazing - to both of you thank you for keeping this issue front and centre.

Sean, did you see the TV clip where Da Preem told the Beijing media scrum that the recent S2S landslide was a "once every 200 years event". And this is the man who makes decisions about who is worth a $105,000 pay raise? Oh my, oh my, OH MY!

HadEnuffAlready - what network/station was that shown on? I would like to track down an online clip.

The comments were shown on a BCTV news broadcast last night (Aug.12.) The Premier had a press conference and the subject of rock slides was raised. He said they were a "once every 200 years event." Some commentators(away from the press conference) then went through a recent history of slides in the area and showed that there were several slides in the past several years (much less than 200 years.)

Martin C.
Astro is correct. I saw it on the 6 p.m. CTV news - Cable 9 where I live. The landslide question was not the only one the premier wanted to treat the way he does in media scrums at home. He bit his tongue on a question about homelessness, where a paper by Pivot Legal Society was raised. That time, the stillborn sneer was barely noticeable.
On another topic -- Michael Campbell or Michael Levi - cannot remember which - noted on a CKNW clip, that the $43-billion China has invested in the Beijing Olympics, has failed to re-energize the Chinese stockmarket which, overall, was trading at only 58% of normal. While I don't play in that type of 'casino', I do know that trading BC's natural-resource-based economy, for a Campbell-type paper economy, does not bode well for the province - 2010 or no 2010.

stillborn sneer?

OHMYGOD that's funny. And so very true. Thank you for that, and consider it stolen.

It's a sunny warm day outside - I need a break from this gov's nonsense. Maybe I'll go scatter bird seed on the legislature lawns. :)

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