How about good old common sense

Staff ~ The Amherst News
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So just what does constitute appropriate action by the provincial government in response to revelations by the auditor general of inappropriate spending? Nova Scotians are seeing one of reaction.
Many of the people commenting on the issue since last week's AG report from Jacques Lapointe have questioned the lack of any repercussion.
At first, it was left as a voluntary gesture whether MLAs wanted to come clean. Those who did, in most cases, said they would reimburse the public purse.
That has the average joe saying, what? In private industry the person responsible might very well lose his or her job. If warranted, there might be a police investigation.
Loose, hazy guidelines regarding such purchases was cited by Lapointe as a contributing factor. But consider for a moment how blatantly wrong some of them were.
Also, consider the initial defensive reaction from Conservative Richard Hurlburt over his purchase of a generator he went on to claim was for the benefit of his community - even though installed in his home.
A day later he was less defiant and apologized for the purchase, saying he would cover it. As of Tuesday, the Yarmouth MLA has resigned.
A generator to serve your community in an emergency sounds great. But it would be fair game for the public purse only if done across the board, in all communities, and obviously that would be above and beyond main priorities for Nova Scotians at this point.
Other MLAs said they would repay, but still hid behind the excuse of, well, the rules weren't clear.
Some of the purchases as revealed were borderline in appropriateness. Some were outrageous.
But as to the fuzzy guidelines - shouldn't a politician with a lick of sense know what is an appropriate claim against the public purse? We're happy legislation to tighten such spending is coming, but we also expect a high degree of prudence - that's tops
on the list of how to get elected.

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Recent comments

  • sparky00
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    These MLA's involved should all be fired, as they would if working for a private firm.
    I agree with the article, but let's go one step further. The government cries that we have no money and have to raise taxes, yet use funds for their own personal gain. They are making no attempt to curb spending or change.
    Just as an example, There are 107 MLA'S in Ontario serving approximately 12,000,000 people, and we have 52 for less than a million. HRM has more city councillors than the city of Toronto. I don't know about you, but i could see a whole lot of potential savings.

  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I'm sorry Mr/Ms Editor but from where I sit you will never see politicians use common sense. Once they have been exposed to the you grease my palm and I'll grease yours philosophy rampant in political circles today, it is nealy impossible for them to see things with a clear mind. With so much lobbying from private influence groups and back room manoeuvers going on they feel they can do and get away with just about anything. Many are in their own minds Above the Law . And PS there was a poor choice of words in your article....there is no such thing as fuzzy guidelines to common sense!! It is what it is period!

  • Moriarty
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    ............................It's the procurement that makes the difference in all of this. If MLAs had to call a central office to access everything for their offices from computers, furniture, telephones etc. they wouldn't be running out to Future Shop or Staples (or expensive local craftspeople) snapping up items that may or may not suit their needs.

    The Dexter plan of having an Office that not only decides if something is an appropriate purchase, but also tells MLAs where and how to make purcahses will clear up a good amount of this problem.

    Remember, only a few of these people have any kind of small business or office administration experience. Most of them don't know a thing about it.

    Mr. Hurlburt has no excuse however. After owning his own consruction business and working as a politician for 16 years before becoming an MLA he should have known better.

    There should be a one-stop shop for all of this...but I do wonder whether any form of control will keep the Hurlburts out there from running wild with our money.