Colchester County politicians not cited for inappropriate spending

Jason Malloy
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www.trurodaily.com/documents/TruroDailyNews/MLAs spending.pdf

TRURO - Colchester County's three MLAs spent more than $37,000 to furnish and equip their offices during the past three years, according to expenses released late Wednesday.
The information was made public by the Speaker's Office following the auditor general's report earlier this month that showed some inappropriate or excessive spending.
None of the three Colchester County MLAs were cited for inappropriate or excessive expenditures.
Colchester North MLA Karen Casey spent $19,625.77 for items including, computer equipment, a GPS for a car, furniture and an electronic fireplace for her constituency office.
"I think it's fairly modest," she said, noting everything purchased was to support the activities of the office. "You have to look at what is functional and what is going to create a nice environment, but not an overly extravagant
environment."
Casey said she has not heard anything negative from constituents about her spending.
"I am trying to use their dollars wisely and everything we did purchase here was to make the office work," she said.
Truro-Bible Hill MLA Jamie Muir spent $8,409.02 while Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MLA Brooke Taylor spent $9,235.38.
Casey was first elected in 2006 (the beginning of the auditor general's report) while Muir was in the legislature since 1998 and Taylor since 1993. Neither man reoffered for last June's election.
Muir's expenses include computer equipment, a GPS, digital camera, TV and a copier. Muir said since the report came out he has decided to repay the province for the TV he has in his home. The copier's lease was taken over by MP Scott Armstrong's office. Muir and the former MP for Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley shared the office on the Esplanade.
"Maybe the thing to do, on a go-forward basis, is that anything that is purchased out of your constituency allowance simply goes to government surplus when you're finished with it," he said.
Nova Scotian politicians is a group of "honourable people" the former cabinet minister said.
"If there were errors, they're errors of the head not errors of the heart," Muir said.
Taylor purchased a $870.50 camera on May 25, a few weeks after announcing he would not re-offer in the 2009 election.
"I identified a need, yes, it was in the throes of an election, but, officially you're still the minister of transportation until the new cabinet is sworn in, hence the camera was purchased," he said.
Taylor said he told a Halifax radio station long before the auditor general's report became public that he wanted to give away the assets of his constituency office to those who would not have the ability to purchase the items on their own.
"I have done that, including the camera. The camera is gone," he said.

jmalloy@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Armstrong's

Geographic location: Colchester County, Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley, Halifax

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