B.C. Opposition New Democrats are prepared to force a vote in the legislature to kill a lucrative consulting contract for a retired legislative clerk.
NDP house leader John Horgan said he is willing to introduce a motion in the House when the legislature resumes to eliminate retired clerk George MacMinns $480,000 consulting contract.
Horgan has said the contract is not an appropriate use of money, and retaining MacMinn for advice on how to run the legislature serves little value because the legislature rarely sits. If the payments continue, Horgan said, calling a vote is the only remaining option.
He was appointed to this position by a motion in the legislature, so other than him voluntarily recognizing that the position hes put his valued legislature into is untenable the only recourse is to move a motion the next time the house sits, Horgan said.
If it gets to that, Im certainly prepared to do that.
MacMinn, who is in his 80s, retired in 2011 after 54 years at the legislature. He received a two-year consulting contract, though current staff have said he is rarely asked for advice. MacMinn has defended the deal, saying it is part of a long-standing legislature tradition to hire retired clerks as consultants.
As the B.C. Liberal government cancelled the fall session of the legislature, the next likely opportunity for Horgan to introduce a motion would be after the provincial budget in February. Horgan also expressed frustration that months after requesting the figures from legislature staff, he still has no breakdown of MacMinns salary and expenses.
He said he understands MacMinn also receives his pension on top of his $240,000-a-year consulting contract.
We have a fiscal crunch in British Columbia, Im told, and if we dont require a service by an employee, they are going to be let go, said Horgan, a member of the all-party committee of MLAs charged with managing the legislature.
Finance Minister and Liberal House leader Mike de Jong said he is aware of the MacMinn contract issue.
Im not going to say much about it today, because Im still trying to gather information and material, de Jong said in an interview this week.
I will say this: I do have great respect for the work that George MacMinn has done over 54 years as a table officer at this legislature.
He said its an appropriate question to ask whether government can afford the consulting contract given the current financial climate, and he expects it to be debated by MLAs at the next management meeting in October.
De Jong wouldnt comment on whether the Liberals would oppose or support an NDP motion to end MacMinns contract.
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