Speaker releases list of inappropriate, excessive expenses by MLAs
HALIFAX - Neither Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott nor former Cumberland North MLA Ernest Fage are on a list that pointed out thousands of dollars or inappropriate or excessive spending last year.
The list released by the Speaker's office on Monday shows 18 expenditures ranging from $13,445 for custom-made office furniture, to $7,995 for the supply and installation of a generator and $252 for pictures.
The list was compiled before Brian Skabar defeated Fage in last June's provincial election.
Scott knew he wasn't on the list, but said he moved quickly last fall to clarify a couple of expenses for his office when the Speaker's office told him he'd been paid twice for them.
"There were two expenses, one was for advertising and one was for a constituency assistant. It appeared as though I had been paid for them twice. I asked the Speaker's office to show me what happened and I repaid it," said Scott.
Meanwhile, on his first day back on the job after being on vacation for two weeks, Premier Darrell Dexter said Monday that he accepts and agrees with the recommendations made by the auditor general regarding MLA expenses.
"I believe that the regulations need to be updated to reflect a contemporary office or working environment and that clear, adequate, guidelines are required," the premier said, adding that he will be asking opposition leaders to work with government to prepare legislation to replace the Internal Economy Board with a modern legislature management commission based on best practices.
The new legislation will set clear limits on what can be spent and why. The proposed commission will standardize the system of procurement, leasing and staff. He also wants management commission meetings to be public.
As well, the premier has also asked the Speaker to make an immediate change in the regulations so that members are now required to deduct their own meals from any expense claim they submit on a day they qualify for a per diem.
- R. Hurlburt claimed $7,995 for the supply and installation of a generator;
- H.D. Wilson claimed $400 for furniture used in his residence;
- L. Preyra claimed $373 for airfare for his son for a trip to Ottawa; and
- L. Goucher claimed $150 for the purchase of 3 MP3 players on the same day.
Telephone or internet services claims above monthly allowances
- M. Samson claimed $1,540 for service from June 2006 to July 2009; and
- R. Chisholm claimed $1,274 for service from February 2007 to July 2008.
Claims for expenses paid to a relative disallowed by the regulations
- W. Gaudet claimed a total of $1,260 for parking lot sanding from a company owned by his brother (Gaudet Mini Excavator Limited); and
- K. Colwell claimed $252 for pictures purchased from his brother's company (3-D Art & Crafts).
- J. MacDonell claimed $13,445 for custom-made office furniture and $2,600 for a printer;
- B. Dooks claimed $6,234 for website design and programming;
- D. Dexter claimed $5,501 for a laptop computer and $2,150 for a digital camera;
- R. MacDonald claimed $3,250 for a projector screen and dress kit;
- H. Epstein claimed $2,969 for various books;
- K. Colwell claimed $2,665 for a projector and $1,763 for a video camera;
- R. Hurlburt claimed $2,499 for a 40-inch LCD television and $579 for installation charges;
- C. Parker claimed $790 for a model boat office display;
- J. Streatch claimed $738 for an expresso coffee maker;
- R. Chisholm claimed $750 for a GPS unit.
(Source: Office of the Speaker)