Wednesday, August 31, 2011

$$$ for senior bureaucrats, but not a penny for public education

The news today about the salaries, bonuses and severance packages for senior BC government bureaucrats was a slap in the face for British Colombians faced with higher taxes, higher ferry fares, higher Hydro bills and lower wages.

While the government has steadfastly insisted that public sector workers who are not in management must take a zero salary increase for two years, apparently this did not apply to senior levels in government.

David Hahn, CEO of BC Ferries, earned over $1 million this year with a sizable bonus. While BC residents spent more than ever on ferry fares, he suffered no "austerity".

The CEO of Powerex earned over $1 million, including a $540,000 bonus.

As reported in today's Times Colonist by Les Layne:

"Regular readers will recognize Kevin Mahoney from rants in this space back in 2008. He was the CEO of B.C. Rail who continued to make $500,000 a year even after the railway was reduced to just a spur line and the number of employees cut to about 30.

The corporation didn't meet any of its targets in selling its industrial real estate portfolio, but Mahoney still managed to collect six-figure bonuses.

He made his last appearance on the earners list this year, clocking in at $500,000, but only because of a $392,000 severance payout that came after the top-heavy remnants of B.C. Rail were finally wound down in 2010."

(Read more:

The same day, Minister of Education George Abbott tells the media: "There is nothing in our world that will take us away from a net zero mandate".

What Abbott isn't saying is that the mandate only really applies to *some* public sector workers - notably those who do NOT earn six figure salaries to start with.

The "net zero" has nothing to do with our economy or fiscal situation. It has everything to do with priorities. This government wants ordinary working people to pay more and more and more.

Our version of BC Liberal austerity came in the form of the $6 training wage, increases to fees for public services like the ferries, no wage increases for public sector workers, and of course the HST.

But those on the high end, in the top 5% of income earners in this province, have been showered with bonuses.

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