29 July 2010

Did he expense that?

Right on the heels of a new appointment for something called a “legislative assistant” comes a news release that tells us that Ed Buckingham  - member of the House of Assembly for St. John’s East - filled in for Charlene Johnson at an announcement in Burgeo.

This raises some interesting questions, not the least of which is who paid Ed’s costs.

You see they weren’t ministerial expenses so they don’t turn up on the periodic disclosure of expenses by cabinet ministers.

And they weren’t expenses in the House of Assembly because this is a government job.  Ed shouldn’t be expensing them in the legislature.

The department should be covering the bill.

But interestingly enough, they don’t have to disclose any of the costs for travel by this odd bird called the legislative assistant or even confirm what if any pay goes with the title unless someone goes through the exercise of submitting an access to information request.

Of course, you wouldn’t even think to do that because until the Paul Davis announcement, these little jobs flew under the radar screen.  Sort of like “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Funny idea for a government that supposedly wants to be open, transparent and accountable.

- srbp -