27 January 2011

The Double-Dippity-Do

While teachers may be the largest group of people the Auditor General found to be double dipping, the problem isn’t confined to them.

Auditor General John Noseworthy found 60 pensioners drawing salaries from government departments and the House of Assembly in 2009. And while he didn’t check to see if any of the politicians were double-dipping, Noseworthy did find that the pols liked to hire double-dippers:
For 2009, departments indicated that 10 of the 60 (2008 - 7 of the 47)  rehired pensioners were political appointments such as secretaries to a  member of the House of Assembly or research assistants and, as such, Cabinet approval would not be expected.
Cabinet approval might not have been needed but the provincial government’s finance rules should at least be instructive in the legislature especially in the wake of Chief Justice Derek Green’s report on the 1996-2006 slush fund scandal.

This chart from the AG report shows the distribution of double-dippers making more than $25,000 per year, by department:

There’s no indication of what a “private MHA” is in that entry for the education department.

The child and youth advocate appears to be the retired judge appointed to replace Darlene Neville. No surprise there as the province’s justice minister blessed the double-dipper in the House of Assembly in early 2010. Your humble e-scribbler also raised the point around the same time along with the note that the judge’s salary was actually way higher than that of the person he replaced.

Talk about big stamps.

Then there’s the numbers by salary and pension amount:

The problems here are way beyond the idea that people are drawing a pension and collecting a new salary at the same time.  That’s a gigantic one, in itself, but this is an old issue and one that government policy has clearly addressed since 1993, at least.  People aren’t supposed to be collecting a pension and drawing a salary from what is, in essence, the same pot of cash.

The policy is clear on this, but as Noseworthy points out, the policy is honoured more in the breach than in the observance.  At the same time, departments aren’t properly documenting the hiring and the re-hiring.

What there seems to be in this case, as with the ATV issue, is a chronic management problem. responsibility for the problems has to start at the top and that’s the only place that can set both the tone and the general management approach to fix it.

- srbp -