Opposition critical of premier's decision to pay bonuses to 10 MLAs
Legislative secretaries now each receive an extra $3K per year
Saskatchewan's Opposition is criticizing the premier's decision to start paying his legislative secretaries at the same time he asks public sector employees to take a pay cut.
During last summer's cabinet shuffle, Premier Brad Wall quietly ended his practice of not paying legislative secretaries any extra money to do the work. They now receive a $3,000 bonus.
The NDP's education critic, Carla Beck, says the timing of reinstating that bonus could not be worse.
"We are crowding more people into classrooms with fewer teachers and asking those teachers to take decreases and no pay increases for a number of years into the future," she said.
"I think that there are a lot of families out there who would be really frustrated and discouraged to hear that these MLAs are still receiving this $3,000 bonus at a time when people are having to tighten their belts all around the province."
Beck notes the $3,000 bonus essentially negates the 3.5 per cent pay cut taken by the MLAs who are also legislative secretaries.
Wall once critical of secretary pay
Legislative secretaries are appointed to do special work for cabinet ministers. For instance, the legislative secretary for irrigation expansion reports to the Minister of Agriculture.
Wall had been critical of his predecessor, NDP premier Lorne Calvert, for paying his legislative secretaries the full amount they were entitled to, which at the time was nearly $12,000 a year.
The government notes Wall could be paying each legislative secretary nearly $14,000 under the current rules of the legislative assembly.
Still, the Opposition wonders what the public is getting for the extra money paid to legislative secretaries.
Freedom of Information requests by the NDP for any records of work done by legislative secretaries yielded no documents.
The government says not all legislative secretaries produce reports.