Blogging Frank 587

We know it’s just out but we are tempted to comment on the article on p. 15 of Atlantic Frank’s latest issue. The one with the title “The Secret City and your Money. ”  Here are a few snippets:

…taxpayers are being kept in the dark. Asking for a list of salaries of senior officials is now considered a privacy breach. … At a time when we are being gouged with higher property taxes and less municipal services…taxpayers are prohibited from knowing how our money is spent. What are we children? What is this kindergarten?

Retired provincial watchdog Darce Fardy, who heads the Nova Scotia Right to Know Coalition, says municipal salaries are “something you would expect to have on a website.”

[In Ontario public salaries, including municipal salaries, over 100K must be disclosed]

In  another item on the same page, entitled The HRM FOIPOP fizzle.

[The] Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is just a roadblock on the Information Highway. A ridiculously formal, time consuming and costly process, with no guarantee of results FOIPOP is nothing less than a bureaucratic obstacle in the way of transparency.

Frank paid up for 3 applications under the Act to receive travel expenses and salaries of City Hall mandarins which it eventually got 6 weeks later, whereupon the info was used by the Chronicle Herald who somehow knew to ask for the information just after it was supplied to Frank [ Do they have an ad saying “Does the CH know?” or a New Tips Hotline?] Nice.

In case you didn’t see it in the Herald – Nine bigwigs in HRM are earning a total of $1.425 million which works out to,  on average, $160,000 apiece.

There’s lots more in this latest Frank including pages and pages on the Principal Fells affair but we’ll leave those for you to read yourself because we’d rather mention the bit on page 13, “Cry for New Glasgow’s Tax Paypers [sic], which informs us that a town crier from Pictou County is going to the UK for an International Town Crier Competition. Nice.

Even nicer still, New Glasgow taxpayers are helping out with a $1,000 contribution towards the cost of his trip.

The trip was reported in the New Glasgow News but

...not mentioned in the piece, for whatever reason, is the town’s generous donation.

That’s right keep taxpayers in the dark. Nice. And it isn’t the first time said town crier was helped out of public coffers; according to the Frank report tax money also helped out for him to attend a competition in Bermuda in 2009 and possibly for other excursions before that. Very nice.

Your tax dollars at work. There should be a billboard for this sort of thing.

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