Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's auditor general pondering personal services contracts probe

Nova Scotia’s auditor general may be taking a closer look at the kind of jobs the premier’s former chief of staff offered to Andrew Younger’s wife in a secretly taped recording.

The job offer made by Kirby McVicar to Andrew Younger's wife is an example of this kind of contract

Nova Scotia’s Auditor General, Michael Pickup, says recent news reports, as well as a request from a PC MLA about the contracts have spurred his office to make preliminary inquiries about personal services contracts. (CBC)

Nova Scotia's auditor general may be taking a closer look at the kind of jobs the premier's former chief of staff, Kirby McVicar, offered to Andrew Younger's wife in a secretly taped recording.

They are called personal services contracts and are meant to fill a short-term need by a government department or agency.

If the salary is less than $75,000 a year, a contract can be drawn up without approval outside the department. Contracts worth between $75,000 and $120,000 need the approval of a deputy minister of the Treasury Board. Cabinet needs to approve any contract worth more than that.

Nova Scotia's Auditor General Michael Pickup says recent news reports, as well as a request from a PC MLA about the contracts, have spurred his office to make preliminary inquiries.

"We are looking to gather information in terms of the extent of personal services contracts that exist," he said. "So basically, the dollar amount and how many there might be, and looking at it from potentially a value for money perspective in terms of the effectiveness and efficiency of these things."

He expects to make a decision by the end of January on whether the issue is worth a performance audit by his office.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said the current deputy minister of the Office of Planning and Priorities is under a personal services contract worth $180,000 a year. In fact he's under a professional services contract.
    Nov 26, 2015 10:10 AM AT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jean Laroche

Reporter

Jean Laroche has been a CBC reporter for 32 years. He's been covering Nova Scotia politics since 1995 and has been at Province House longer than any sitting member.

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