Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY MANAGEMENT COMMISSION MINUTES

The fifth meeting of the House of Assembly Management Commission was held in Committee Room 2, Dennis Building, on Tuesday, January 11, 2011, at 1:30 p.m.

Present were all of the members of the Commission, namely: Mr Gordon Gosse, Hon. Frank Corbett, Ms Pam Birdsall, Mr Maurice Smith, Hon. Manning MacDonald, Mr Andrew Younger, Hon. Chris d’Entremont, Mr Neil Ferguson (Chief Clerk) and Hon. Charlie Parker, who acted as Chair.  Also present was Gordon 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 three decisions:
a)  The Commission approved the ratings determined for Constituency Assistants who are all being placed on the Province’s EC6 scale.
b)  Upon legal advice the Commission approved the settlement of an employment termination matter and agreed that a Constituency Assistant whose employment was terminated would receive one month’s salary and repayment of benefit payments the CA had made for several months during an unpaid leave of absence.
c)  The Commission declined to contract for enhanced long-term disability benefits for Members.
The Commission then commenced the public portion of its meeting at 2:06 p.m.

2)  It was moved by Hon. MacDonald and seconded by Mr Gosse that the Minutes of the October 19, 2010 meeting be approved.  CARRIED.

3)  There was discussion regarding tickets for events and more particularly how many tickets to events Members are allowed to expense.  The Director of Administration advised that her interpretation of clause 21(1)(k) of the House of Assembly Management Commission Regulations was that one ticket for the member to attend was to be reimbursed.  A second ticket would be reimbursed where the ticket was for a constituency assistant (CA) or a staff person who was asked to attend the event at the request of the Member. 

It was moved by Mr Smith and seconded by Hon. MacDonald that there be a limit of one event ticket per Member reimbursed with a second ticket for the same event being reimbursed if it is for the constituency assistant or another staff to attend the event at the request of the Member.  CARRIED.

4)  The Director of Administration advised that the House of Assembly Management Commission Audit Committee held two meetings to date on November 2, 2010 and January 11, 2011.  She introduced the Chair of the Commission Mr Laughlin McKenzie who was present.  He informed the committee that he is a retired chartered account from KPMG and that the second public member on the audit committee is Leo Gallant, the Dean of the Business at St. Francis Xavier University.  Mr McKenzie expressed his appreciation to both Ms Lusby and Mr Ferguson for their support to date in getting the committee organized and started on its mandate.

5)  The Director of Administration provided an update on posting MLA expenses online.  The November 2010 expenses were posted on December 11th, 2010.  The claims received to December 30, 2010 will be posted on January 12, 2011.  The January 2011 claims as well as the final 2010 claims will be posted on February 9th, 2011.  The Commission members were reminded that the deadline for submitting the 2010 expense submissions is January 30, 2011.  In the future the Member expenses will be posted online monthly.

6)  The Director of Administration also indicated to the Commission members that the Members Compensation, Expenses and Constituency Administration and Assembly Procedure and Services manuals were available online.  Some hard copies were printed.  Given that the information contained in the manuals is being updated regularly the online version should be relied upon rather than the hard copy versions as being the most up to date copy.

7)  There are three administration initiatives that the Director of Administration and her staff are working on:

a) The direct payment by the Speaker’s Office for recurring payments for Members which are for the same fixed monthly amount such as rent commencing April 1, 2011.
b) That office is investigating the possibility of setting up direct purchasing from government resources such as the Protocol Office, Stationery Store, Mail Services, Queens Printer and Chief Information Office (CIO) for computers.  The advantage of this type of purchasing arrangement is that the purchase does not need to be paid by Members using their own money up front and later being reimbursed but rather the purchase can be charged directly and the expense is charged to the Member’s constituency expense and the government resource is reimbursed by her office.  The Director will have information in mid-February of the cost of this service.
c) Members were sent an inventory control form by the Director of Administration to record any items purchased since October 27, 2009.  Stickers are being placed on the purchased items.  Any future purchased items will be flagged when the expenses are processed to insure the inventory list is updated and accurate.  The inventory lists are due back from the Members by January 28, 2011.

8)  The Chief Clerk indicated that a number of clarifications were required to transition from a calendar year to a fiscal year for tracking expenses.  To accomplish this, he recommended the adoption of the House of Assembly Management Commission Transitional Regulations.  He proposed the following new Regulations for the Commission’s consideration:

House of Assembly Management Commission Fiscal Year Transition Regulations


1   These Regulations may be cited as the House of Assembly Management Commission Fiscal Year Transition Regulations.

2   In these Regulations, unless otherwise provided,

(a) “Commission Regulations” means the House of Assembly Management Commission Regulations;
(b) “transition period” means the three month period from January 1, 2011 to March 31, 2011, between the end of the 2010 calendar year and the beginning of the 2011-12 fiscal year of the Province.

3   The purpose of these Regulations is to implement a system for allocating a proportional amount of the annual resources for expenditures set out in the Commission Regulations for use during the transition period for claims, payments and reimbursements of expenses during that period to effect the transition from operating on the calendar year to one operating on the fiscal year of the Province.

4   For the purpose of Section 29 of the Commission Regulations, the amounts payable to the persons referred to in that Section with respect to the transition period shall be one fourth of the amounts provided for and shall be payable on March 31st, 2011.

5   For the purpose of Sections 31 and 32 of the Commission Regulations, the amounts payable to the persons referred to in Section 31 with respect to the transition period shall be one fourth of the amounts provided for and shall be payable on January 1, 2011.

6   For the purpose of Section 33 of the Commission Regulations, the transition period and the subsequent fiscal year shall be considered to be one year, and the amounts referred to in that Section shall each be increased by one fourth.

7   For the purpose of subsection 34(1) of the Commission Regulations, the maximum number of trips permitted during the transition period shall be one.

8   For the purpose of Section 36 of the Commission Regulations, the amounts payable to the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of a recognized party with respect to the transition period shall be one fourth the amount provided for.

9   For the purpose of Section 40 of the Commission Regulations, the maximum reimbursable amount payable to each Deputy Speaker with respect to the transition period shall be one fourth the amount provided for.

10   For the purpose of Section 42 of the Commission Regulations, the amounts provided in substitution for the franking privilege and for expenses incurred on account of postage and for travel shall be one fourth of the amounts provided for and there will be no carry-forward of any unused amount after the end of the transition period.

11   For the purpose of Section 43 of the Commission Regulations, there will be no carry-forward of any unused amount after the end of the transition period.

12   For the purpose of subsection 43(4) of the Commission Regulations, any member who has not used the amount provided for specific additional promotional items during the calendar year 2010, the member may apply for approval of such an expenditure until March 31st, 2011, and the amount available for specific additional promotional items during the transition period shall be one fourth of the annual amount provided for.

13   For the purpose of subsections 45(1),(4) and 46(1) of the Commission Regulations, the number of permitted trips is reduced to one for each of those subsections during the transition period.

14   For the purpose of Section 49 of the Commission Regulations, the number of permitted trips is reduced to thirteen during the transition period but a member who is required to make more than thirteen such trips may apply to the Speaker for permission to make up to two more trips during the transition period in exigent circumstances.


Discussion followed on the reason for which the transition period for some expenses was defined as a three month “mini year” from January 1 to March 31, 2011 before going into the yearly fiscal year cycle, while other expenses had a defined transition period of fifteen months.  In particular, caucus funding pursuant to section 33 of the Regulations, for the transition period, is based on a 15 month year from January 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012. 

It was moved by Hon. Corbett and seconded by Hon. d’Entremont that the House of Assembly Management Commission Fiscal Year Transition Regulations as proposed by the Clerk be accepted by the Commission.  CARRIED.

9)  The Chief Clerk recommended a resolution consisting of amendments to the House of Assembly Management Commission Regulations to define effective April 1, 2011, the term “year” in the Regulations to be the Province’s fiscal year and to run from April 1 to March 31yearly.  The text of the proposed amendments is:

Resolution Respecting Amendments to the
House of Assembly Management Commission Regulations

Be it resolved that, effective April 1, 2011, the House of Assembly Management Commission Regulations are amended in the following manner:

1   Subsection 3(1) of the Regulations is amended by
(a)  striking out the period at the end of clause(e) and substituting a semicolon;
(b)  striking out the period at the end of clause (f) and substituting a semicolon; and
(c)  adding immediately after clause (f) the following clause:
(g)  “year” means the fiscal year of the Province as defined in the Finance Act.

2   Subsection 29(4) of the Regulations is amended by striking out “June 30th and December 31st” and substituting “September 30th and March 31st”.

3   Section 32 of the Regulations is amended by striking out “January 1st and July 1st” and substituting “April 1st and October 1st”.

4   Section 52 of the Regulations is amended by striking out “January 1st” and substituting “April 1st”.

It was moved by Mr Smith and seconded by Hon. MacDonald that the amendments as proposed by the Clerk be accepted.  CARRIED.

10)  The Chief Clerk recommended a further amendment to the House of Assembly Management Commission Regulations to strike out the provision that a government-leased or a government-purchases motor vehicle be permissible pursuant to Clause 26(3)(a).  This change is necessary to reflect current practice. The text of the proposed amendment is:

Resolution Respecting an Amendment to the
House of Assembly Management Commission Regulations

Be it resolved that Clause 26(3)(a) of the House of Assembly Management Commission Regulations is amended by striking out “has been provided with a government-leased or government-purchased motor vehicle” and substituting “is entitled to payment of motor vehicle operation expenses as a member of the Executive Council”.


It was moved by Hon. MacDonald and seconded by Mr Younger that this amendment be adopted.  CARRIED.

11)  It was moved by Hon. MacDonald that the meeting be adjourned.  CARRIED.

The meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m.


These Minutes were approved by the Management Commission on         2011.

 

Certified


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Speaker

 

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Chief Clerk