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MLAs call on government to cut department salaries

By: Sara Wilson

  |  Posted: Monday, Apr 14, 2014 11:33 am

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Chestermere-Rocky View MLA Bruce McAllister said he believes the Alberta government is wasting taxpayer dollars on unnecessary and overpaid communications staff.

McAllister said the money wasted on excessive communications staff could be put to better use.

“We have schools being promised all over the province without so much as a shovel in the ground,” McAllister said. “I think Albertans are far more interested in having classroom space for their kids than having more spin doctors on the government payroll.”

Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson spoke up about the salaries included in 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.”

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.

Sand said the department and employees are playing a vital role in getting information 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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