Legislature cuts MLAs out of rent payments after scandal

New Brunswick MLAs will no longer be responsible for paying for their rent after an internal legislative committee approved a new policy that all future office payments be made directly by the legislature.

PC MLA Greg Davis's non-payment of rent came to light when sheriffs seized furniture in March

New Brunswick MLAs will no longer be responsible for paying for their rent after an internal legislative committee approved a new policy that all future office payments be made directly by the legislature.

The Legislative Administration Committee made the change on Wednesday and it comes in the wake of questions about how Campbellton-Restigouche Centre MLA Greg Davis handled payment of his office expenses.

Davis's office furniture was briefly seized by sheriff's officers in March for non-payment of $6,665, representing six and a half months of rent from September 2013 to March 2014.

Progressive Conservative Fredericton-Silverwood MLA Brian Macdonald, who sits on the committee, said rent amounts will now be deducted from the $40,000 office expense limit of MLAs

MLAs will still get to decide on the location of their constituency office, but they will no longer be ones paying the monthly bill.

Macdonald said this is a natural evolution of how office space should be rented.

"I think that this is long overdue," Macdonald said on Wednesday.

"Every other office in government is paid for directly by the government. This is consistent with that and I think it probably should have been the case a long time ago."

CBC News learned the Progressive Conservative party helped Davis pay an outstanding five-month rent bill at his constituency office in 2012.

The Tory MLA expensed $4,000 for four of those months and was reimbursed, but he still hasn't repaid the party in full.

A report into the office expenses of Davis by the Legislative Administration Committee showed taxpayers did not pay anything extra for Davis’s rent problems this year.

But it also said the rookie MLA claimed some rent expenses in 2012, even after the party had already covered them.

Davis has said he will not be running again in September's election.

The Opposition Liberals have repeatedly questioned the Premier David Alward's Progressive Conservatives about Davis's spending. The Liberals say there is taxpayers' money that is unaccounted for.

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