HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY MANAGEMENT COMMISSION
The tenth meeting of the House of Assembly Management Commission was held in Committee Room 1, Dennis Building, on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.
Present were all of the members of the Commission, namely: Ms Becky Kent, Hon. Frank Corbett, Ms Pam Birdsall, Mr Maurice Smith, Q.C., Hon. Michel Samson, Mr Andrew Younger, Hon. Chris d’Entremont, Mr Neil Ferguson (Chief Clerk) and Hon. Gordie Gosse, who acted as Chair. Also present was Annette M. Boucher, Q.C., Assistant Clerk, Gordon D. Hebb, Q.C., counsel to the Commission, and Deborah Lusby, Director of Administration, Office of the Speaker.
1) The Commission met in camera pursuant to subsection 9(1) of the House of Assembly Management Commission Act and, pursuant to subsection 9(2) of that Act, advises in these Minutes that it made one decision:
It was moved by Hon. Frank Corbett and seconded by Ms Pam Birdsall as follows:
Be it resolved that the Chief Clerk and the Director of Administration continue discussions with the Public Service Commission (PSC) to adjust the EC ratings for the House of Assembly employee positions to ensure the assigned ratings appropriately reflect the nature of the job positions. In addition, as an interim measure, that the House of Assembly Management Commission adopt the EC position ratings assigned in the document dated March 21, 2012 by the Public Service Commission and that eligible employees be given retroactive pay increases, to April 1, 2008, if applicable, based on the most recent EC ratings.
The Commission then commenced the public portion of its meeting at 8:52 a.m.
Prior to commencing the regular agenda business, it was moved by Mr Andrew Younger and seconded by Hon. Frank Corbett as follows:
Be it resolved that the Member for Richmond, Mr Michel Samson, be appointed to the audit committee of the House of Assembly Management Commission, pursuant to clause 15(2)(1) of the House of Assembly Management Commission Act.
It was moved by Hon. Chris d’Entremont and seconded by Maurice Smith that the Minutes of the January 24, 2012 meeting be approved as circulated. CARRIED.
2) Appointment of Auditor for the 2011-2012 fiscal year
The Chief Clerk explained that before the end of each fiscal year the Commission must appoint an auditor. The Audit Committee makes a recommendation to the Commission.
It was moved by Maurice Smith and seconded by Hon. Frank Corbett as follows:
Be it resolved that upon the recommendation of the Audit Committee of the House of Assembly Management Commission, the Nova Scotia Auditor General be appointed as the auditor of the accounts of the House of Assembly for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, pursuant to Section 22 of the House of Assembly Management Commission Act.
3) Audit Updates
The Chief Clerk reported that currently the auditing work was being carried out for the year ending March 31, 2011.
Ernst & Young (E&Y) has been hired to carry out the review required to provide an opinion that the internal controls are adequate so the Chief Clerk can be secure in making this certification as required by the House of Assembly Management Act. This process is taking more time than anticipated. A set of financial statements had to be created for the House of Assembly by the Department of Finance to commence the process. E & Y is carrying out their tasks and the Office of the Auditor General is also doing their audit of the financial statements. This is a learning experience for everyone as it is the first time it is being carried out and although the review/audit is progressing well, it is behind schedule.
4) Security systems for constituency offices
A quotation and cover letter from Steve O’Rourke, Audio Division Manager with Backman Vidcom regarding panic buttons for constituency offices was circulated to the members. It was pointed out that the installation costs for the panic button was quite high as it is based on mileage on a one-at-a-time installation. Therefore, there would be an advantage to having several locations installed at the same time to minimize the costs. Any work relating to constituency office would need to go to tender and the circulated letter was simply to give members an example of an available option. The cost for any type of security system would come from the constituency funds.
Hon. Corbett pointed out that constituency office security is very important and he wondered if thought should be given to “different” levels of security , such as video cameras, etc – however, he did point out that we should err on the side “higher” than “lower” when it came to the security of constituency staff and offices. Hon. d’Entremont wondered if in some cases some level of security was included in the lease agreement for the offices. Security cameras were also mentioned as a possible security measure. Mr Younger mentioned that he has security cameras at his constituency office and he can monitor them on his BlackBerry.
Section 18 of the House of Assembly Management Commission Regulations permits the cost of security for member constituency offices. Each member will likely have differing security needs for their constituency offices.
It was moved by Hon. Frank Corbett and seconded by Becky Kent that a standing offer be prepared to solicit proposals for various options for constituency office security. CARRIED.
5) Year-end deadlines
Ms Lusby reminded Commission members that March 30th was the fiscal year end for expenses.
6) Other business
Mr Samson indicated he would like to raise at a future Commission meeting the issue of projectors and screens purchased by members.
The meeting adjourned at 9:08 a.m.
These minutes were approved by the Management Commission on December