Cumberland MLAs expenses below the norm

Darrell Cole
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HALIFAX - Murray Scott is not surprised with the way Nova Scotians are reacting to how MLAs have been spending their money on computers, furniture and digital cameras.
"I think if I were in their position I'd be upset too," the 12-year Cumberland South MLA said Thursday after the Speaker's office released the expenses filed by politicians over a three-year period prior to last year's provincial election. "In most cases, once you get a chance to explain what the expenses are they would understand that it's the cost of running a constituency."
Scott has no problem discussing his expenses saying the $10,057 over three years includes the expenses of running constituency offices in Springhill and Parrsboro and looking after constituents' issues.
"I consider myself rather cheap, my wife says I'm frugal, but I try to make the most of every cent and stretch it as far as I can," said Scott, whose biggest expense in three years was $2,029 in April 2007 for a laptop and service plan from Future Shop with a $61.53 wireless router being the lowest.
The most unusual was $204.70 for a bar fridge from Staples.
"It's really not a bar fridge, it something we use to keep things like milk in," Scott said. "When I was first elected I brought an old fridge into the office with me. It finally conked out three or four years ago and had to be replaced."
Scott understands concerns raised by Nova Scotians about the expenses of their elected representatives and he feels strongly that control from spending should go to the province with assets controlled by Transportation and Public Works.
"There should be a standardized office so that when I leave, my replacement will come into the office and have everything there for him or her," said Scott.
In Cumberland North, former MLA Ernest Fage spent $12,051 in one year between December 2007 and December 2008 including $2,458 for two computers from Dell Canada in December 2007, $1,492 for an iMac from PC Medic in December 2008, $2,746 for a Macbook Pro and $2,292 for a Macbook and protection plan from PC Medic that same month.
He also purchased $1,332 in electronic goods in December 2008 including a camcorder at $229.99, two DVD recorders at $299.98, two 19-inch LCD televisions at &739.98 and two wall mounts.
More than $9,000 in expenditures were made in December 2008, just six months before the Independent MLA was defeated in the June 2009 provincial election won by New Democrat Brian Skabar.
Fage was not available for comment on Thursday.
The money both Scott and Fage spent was well below the majority of MLAs with former Tory cabinet minister Len Goucher spending over $43,000, Yarmouth MLA Richard Hurlburt spending $33,000 and John MacDonell of the NDP spending $28,000.

What they spent:
Ernest Fage
Dec. 2007 Canadian Tire $169.49 digital camera
Dec. 2007 Dell Canada $2,458.88 two computers
March 2008 Don Smith Agencies Ltd. $282.44 fax machine
Dec. 2008 Bose $654.27 sound system
Dec. 2008 PC Medic $2,746.98 Macbook Pro
Dec. 2008 PC Medic $2,292.70 Macbook, protection plan
Dec. 2008 Downeast Communications $621.44 cellphone
Dec. 2008 PC Medic $1,492.73 iMac
Dec. 2008 Sears $1,332.27 camcorder, two DVD recorders, two LCD TVs and two wall mounts

Murray Scott
Sept. 2006 Staples $113.91 HP Inkjet printer
Dec. 2006 Staples $145.53 printer
Dec. 2006 Staples -$126.67 coupon credit
Dec. 2006 Staples $159.54 fax machine
Dec. 2006 Staples $150.43 chair
Dec. 2006 Staples $204.70 bar fridge
Dec. 2006 Staples $205.19 filing cabinet
Dec. 2006 Fundy Carpet $329.46 carpet for Parrsboro office
April 2007 Future Shop $2,029.19 laptop and service plan
April 2007 Home Hardware $159.59 vacuum cleaner
July 2007 Office Xperts $148.19 office chair
Dec. 2007 Best Buy $649.78 HP Officejet Pro all-in-one printer, fax, scanner, copier
Dec. 2007 Yorke House of Furnishings $265.50 cabinet
Feb. 2008 The Source, $440.68 GPS unit
July 2008 Staples $61.53 wireless router
Nov. 2008 Best Buy $461.03 digital camera, memory
Nov. 2008 Best Buy $635.03 two printers
Dec. 2008 Best Buy $1,061.06 HP tower, computer
Dec. 2008 Staples $451.94 cabinet, bookshelf
Dec. 2008 Downeast Communications $553.63 cellphone
Dec. 2008 Staples $213.18 17-inch computer monitor
Dec. 2008 Staples $683.94 Compaq Presario computer
Dec. 2008 Staples $273.54 19-inch computer monitor
Dec. 2008 Staples $683.94 Compaq Presario computer
Dec. 2008 Staples $112.86 shredder

Organizations: PC Medic, Future Shop, Dell Canada Best Buy Public Works Independent MLA NDP Canadian Tire The Source HP

Geographic location: Springhill, Cumberland North

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Recent comments

  • DiggityDawg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Your right Greg...his office was right beside PC Medic. And NO he definately would not have needed a MacBook Pro!
    I guess in the end at least he wasted his expense $$ on a lot of stuf within his riding...Murray Scott on the other had seems to have liked Best Buy from Hlfx or Future Shop and even a lot of purchases at Staples(before the warehouse opened in Amherst). Its a shame to see all that money(over $8000) go out of Cumb County...

  • Greg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Diggity, not only did he buy 5 computers within 12 months, but three of them were Macs, all bought in December 08. There is nothing about a polititians job that would warrant purchasing expensive Macs over cheap PCs. An a MacBook Pro to boot ... now we're talking top of the line. Of course, his constiuency office was right next door to PC Medic ... hmmmm

    What did he do? Walk in one day and say, Give me one of everything!

    Right on, Mr Bird! An HST increase is totally unacceptable after all this! If they need to increase revenue, maybe they should have an All-Party MLA yard sale!

  • Robert
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45


    Mr. Steele, I do not support an HST Increase!

  • Buck
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Switters should move to Yarmouth.

  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Lots of Mr. Gadgets here folks A Bose sound system??? You got to be kidding!
    And duhhhh what are DVD recorders used for??? I sure hope there are no illegal copying of video's or music going on here. Wouldn't want any of our politicians to take a buck out of Mel Gibsons or Lady Ga Ga's pocket!! Or worse yet...get in trouble with the LAW!

  • Moriarty
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    ............................Sorry ADN, looks like your plan to make these guys look like White Knights backfired.

    I want to know why Scott needed five printers and four computers after being an MLA for nearly a decade! Didn't he already have computers and printers? And switters forgot to point out that not only did Murray buy a fax machice but one of his claims is for a **HP Officejet Pro all-in-one printer, fax, scanner, copier**. If you already had a fax machine Murray, why did you need another? Where are those machines anyway Murray?

    Fage's extravagence doesn't surprise me. Anyone who's ever met Ernie knows that the thing he liked best about the job was the job. He didn't care about anyone else but Ernie. Enormous expenses for an enormous ego.

  • Switters
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Why did Murrray Scott buy 5 printers and only 4 computers?! Yet he has still expensed a router?

    Please tell me there's someone in Murray's office that knows how to use that router to network a couple computers so they can use the same printer?!

    It's not rocket science, and it would certainly have been cheaper than the two grand he spent on printers. That's not even including the fax machine.

    Who buys fax machines anymore?

    The audit period was 2006-2009, not 1996-1999. Out of the 5 printers SURELY one can be used as a fax machine?! What a waste!

    The $448 dollar GPS is also suspect. We all know Murray Scott knows his way around his why would he need a GPS?!

    That's right, Murray was in cabinet and Ministers are asked to drive all over the is it possible that Murray used constituency funds for something he should have expensed somewhere else? Maybe it's because constituency rules were so loose he thought he could get away with it?!

    And why not just buy a darn map book?! Or use one of the FIVE printers to print off a Google Map before ya leave?!

    We see these kind of excesses and inefficiencies in everyday life and we think they're funny and occasionally frustrating quirks about people's personalities.

    When we're talking about public money, however, it's entirely different. Murray buying a $450 GPS, rather buying a map book is just plain irresponsible use of money.

    Sure the AG didn't name Murray Scott and Ernie Fage, but when you take a look at their expenses you have to ask: Would I spend money that way at home? Or for my business?

  • DiggityDawg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Umm..the fax machine is one thing...but did Fage REALLY need to buy FIVE computers in just 12 Months totalling about $9000?? Yes thats NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!! In the past many yrs a person can pick up a really nice Laptop for $450-$699 as well as a home PC for around the same..printers included. Why doesnt it surprise me that a politician would need to spend 3 or 4x what you or I would? Oh I know..because its not THEIR $$....