Thursday, December 26, 2013

Will taxpayers ever be rid of these freeloaders?

"Stop thieves!"

Good Day Readers:

And bear in mind that these untrustworthy spend thrifts will cost taxpayers even more once their suspensions are lifted in two years to re-open their offices unless, of course, they resign in the meantime - we should be so lucky!

Something to watch. The Auditor General of Canada and his staff are looking at the expenses of all remaining senators over the past two years and unlike his predecessor is prepared to name individual senators and amounts. He was scheduled to release three reports the first of which was to be this month. Don't you wish they'd quietly .... off into the dark one night? Besides, upon return who'll touch them they're now radioactive back to simply collect a Big, Fat, Juicy paycheque and benefits package!

What to look for? More impropriety especially among senators doing lucrative "part time" work such as giving speeches, corporate directorships, etc.

Clare L. Pieuk
Cost of closing Senator Patrick Brazeau's office tops $50,000
Jordan Press
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Ottawa November 5, 2013 - Senator Patrick Brazeau arrives on Parliament Hill as senators vote on a motion to suspend embattled Senators Patrick Brazeau, Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy for their inappropriate expenses in Ottawa. (Photo: Justin Tanng/National Post)

OTTAWA — It cost more than $50,000 to close up Senator Patrick Brazeau’s office, putting him at the top of office spending in the upper chamber for the most recent three months of expenses, according to new spending figures.

In all, Brazeau’s office expense claims for the last three months before being suspended without pay from the upper chamber totalled just over $53,000, the highest of any senator’s office spending during that period. Another suspended senator, Pamela Wallin, had office expenses of about $44,358, making her the fourth highest spender in that category between September 1 and November 30.

Senator Mike Duffy, the third senator under suspension, had office expenses of $34,527.88, an amount that is not out of line with what he has previously expensed, but less than double the almost $19,824.36 expensed for his office budget between June 1 and August 31.

The figures are all contained in quarterly expense reports posted to the Senate’s website this week.

The amounts give an idea of how much it cost the upper chamber to provide severance pay to the staffers in each office, who were laid off when their senators were suspended.

“The staff of these senators received their eligible salary and vacation pay after the Senate voted for their suspension, which are the main components of the expenditures reported in staff and office budget for these senators,” a Senate spokeswoman said in an email to Postmedia News.

The seven employees who worked in the offices of the three senators were dismissed from their jobs one day after the Senate voted on November 5 to suspend Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau without pay. The employees, who served as executive assistants and policy advisors, had their dental benefits, disability and life insurance cancelled.

The Senate offered affected employees help in finding new work. Medical benefits were extended until December 31.

There may still be more costs reported for the three suspended senators when the Senate releases its next batch of expense figures in about three months. The dollar figures in the quarterly expense reports are for those expenses that were reimbursed or repaid during that period and not necessarily for expenses made during that reporting period.

For instance, retired Liberal senator Rod Zimmer’s report shows just over $4,800 in office spending, and $5,339.95 in “regular” travel back to Manitoba, the province he represents. Zimmer retired on August 6, citing ill health.

The quarterly expense reports don’t provide details of how money was spent, but provide high-level totals for various spending categories: office and staff, hospitality, housing, and travel.

The Senate was to discuss a new way of reporting spending figures, but that debate has not yet taken place.


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