Suspended B.C. legislature officials collected more than $300K while on leave
Published Thursday, September 26, 2019 4:42PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, September 27, 2019 8:08AM PDT
VICTORIA - Two top officials suspended with pay amid a spending scandal at the B.C. legislature have been collecting hefty paycheques courtesy of taxpayers, according to a new compensation summary posted online.
Legislature staff have only recently started posting the documents, with details up for the last quarter of 2018/19 and the first quarter of 2019/20. They show the pair collected more than $300,000 over six months.
Clerk Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz were placed on administrative leave with pay in November, after spending concerns raised by the Speaker prompted an RCMP investigation. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.
The compensation report covering April 1 to June 30 shows James received a total salary of $123,269. That includes benefits, pension, a vehicle allowance, and a vacation payout of $63,750 he received upon retirement on May 16, 2019.
During the same period Gary Lenz received about half that amount – $61,889 in total compensation, including a $1,067 vehicle allowance. That was cancelled on May 11, 2019, nearly six months after Lenz was suspended.
CTV News was told staff at the legislature contacted Lenz’ lawyer and they agreed it was no longer needed.
The men are entitled to all amounts, according to the terms of their employment. Still, the Speaker’s chief of staff told CTV News the Speaker questioned why the two top officials received vehicle allowances as part of their job.
The acting Clerk received total compensation of $72,673 from April through June, including salary, benefits and pension. Her salary didn’t change.
Taxpayers won’t be shelling out any more money for Craig James’ salary, as he’s now retired. For Lenz, they’ll continue to pick up the tab – about $60,000 every three months – for the time being.