(Published in 24 Hours Aug 27, 2013)

Public-sector benefits too rich


   By Leo Knight




Two stories broke during the past week that speak to all that is wrong with the public sector.

Aggrieved RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford leaked that she had been served with notice that the Mounties were seeking to dismiss her. That notice came following a previous letter sent to her asking her to contact the RCMP to discuss “workplace accommodations” for her. She neglected to respond.

Galliford has been on sick leave since 2006. She has been getting paid while claiming post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from alleged sexual harassment.

I don’t know about you, but if I didn’t like my situation at work, I changed it. Why has having a job in the public sector created such a situation that one can expect to be paid while not contributing a single thing to the job for seven years?

I may be old-fashioned, but I think that if you are getting paid for something then you should actually provide that something. Having a system in which public-sector workers can take years off while still collecting pay from taxpayers is fundamentally flawed.

This is not an issue about the merits of Galliford’s lawsuit. This is about what is happening with the lack of accountability for public-sector workers.

The second story involved the City of Vancouver’s hiring of full-patch Hells Angel Ronaldo Lising as a trash collector. My jaw is still sore from hitting the table, but not because Lising might possibly be going through the motions to satisfy the parole board by saying he was going straight. He was eligible for mandatory release on parole in April after serving two thirds of his 11-year, nine-month sentence resulting from the RCMP’s E-Pandora project targeting the East End chapter of the Hells Angels.

No, my jaw is sore because a report in The Province and other media said he was making $60,000 a year as a rookie trash collector. Seriously? You get paid that much for tossing bags of trash onto a truck? To start?

What level of justification can possibly be made for that kind of waste of public dollars?

Lising has been many things, but primarily he was convicted as a networked drug dealer. That he can get a public-sector job that requires the square root of bugger all for skills and get paid $60,000 a year by taxpayers is obscene.


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Columns 2013