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MLA calls government’s communications budget a waste of taxpayers’ money

By: Sara Wilson

  |  Posted: Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 11:38 am

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Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson believes the Alberta government is wasting taxpayer dollars on unnecessary and overpaid communications staff.

Anderson referred to the Canadian Taxpayers Foundation (CTF) findings that showed the government has 214 full-time communications staff across all government departments at a cost of $23 million.

“This is a classic example of bureaucratic waste and out-of-touch priorities,” Anderson said. “There is simply no way to justify having well over 200 communicators each making more than $100,000 a year on average. It just shows the PC government is more concerned with spin and image than actually delivering good government for Albertans.”

According to the CTF, the average government communications staffer earns $107,844.88 annually.

Those figures, according to David Sands, spokesperson for the Alberta government, are misleading.

“Of the 214, 137 of those are classified as public affairs officers and they would earn within the range of $50,000 to $89,000,” Sand said.

“The remainder would be managers and department heads.”

The figures don’t include communications staff employed by Alberta Health Services, according to Anderson.

Anderson said the communications staff and their salaries is symptomatic of the PC culture of waste and entitlement.

“You’d think with all these highly paid communications experts on the government payroll, they wouldn’t have to contract out these kinds of projects,” Anderson said.

“If these people aren’t doing the jobs taxpayers are paying them handsomely to do, what exactly are they doing?”

Sand explained that the department and its employees are playing a vital role in getting information out to the public.

“I want people to get a full picture of what he’s talking about,” Sand said. “These people are getting information out to the public.”


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