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Local MLA expenses near $25,000 for January


Karen Casey

TRURO - January expense claims for Colchester County trio of MLAs totalled nearly $25,000.

The expense reports were posted yesterday to a provincial government website. It is the third report that went online following last year's MLA expense scandal that was detailed in Auditor General Jacques Lapointe's annual report about a year ago.

Colchester County's provincial politicians' January claims totalled $24,743.43.

The highest claim was by Colchester North's Karen Casey. Her expenses totalled $12,100.11 and included $641.99 for travel, $2,940 for living expenses in December and January and $8,518.12 for constituency expenses.

Those constituency expenses included December's rent for the constituency office, envelopes, folders, advertising, a copier and toner as well as about $900 in phone services for November, December and January.

Lenore Zann's claim was for $6,947.50 and included $1,125.40 for travel, $1,275 for living expenses in January and $4,547.10 in constituency expenses.

The Truro-Bible Hill MLA's constituency expenses included nearly $1,100 in phone services, $1,600 for the constituency office rental for December and January, advertising, and office expenses.

The claim for Gary Burrill (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley) was for $5,695.82 and included $94.71 for travel, $121.69 in postage and travel and $5,479.42 in constituency expenses.

Those latter expenses included about $3,000 in casual payroll, a $751.01 computer, $400 in phone services and a variety of advertising, cards and office supplies.

Burrill told the Truro Daily News in January the increase in his casual payroll was as a result of his assistant being sick and unable to work. The Speaker's Office covers the cost of a constituency assistant for each MLA, but when they are sick and the MLA has to hire an interim replacement the expense has to be shown on their own expense report.

For a complete list of Nova Scotia MLA's expense claims click here.

MLA's salaries are $86,619.01 and there are increases for the premier, cabinet ministers, party leaders, speaker, deputy speaker, committee chairs/vice-chairs, house leaders, whips and caucus chairs.a

Members can be reimbursed up to $1,470 and cabinet ministers up to $1,700 per month for expenses related to having an apartment in Halifax, with receipts and proofs of payment.

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