AIRDRIE, AB (April 3, 2014): The PC government continues to waste taxpayer dollars on unnecessary and overpaid communications staffers, Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said today. Earlier today, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation revealed the PC government employs 214 full-time communications staffers across all government departments at a total cost to taxpayers of $23 million.
According to the CTF, the average government communications staffer earns $107,844.88 annually. The figures don’t include communications staff employed by Alberta Health Services. Anderson said the bloated ranks of government communications staff and their inflated salaries is symptomatic of the PC culture of waste and entitlement. “This is a classic example of bureaucratic waste and out-of-touch priorities,” Anderson said. “There is simply no way to justify having well over 200 communicators each making more than $100,000 a year on average. It just shows the PC government is more concerned with spin and image than actually delivering good government for Albertans.” Anderson said the figures are especially troubling given the government’s tendency to bypass their own highly paid staffers and outsource major communications projects to third parties. During the 2013 floods, the PCs contracted Navigator Ltd. for $240,000 to assist with their communications efforts. The PCs also recently contracted Calder Bateman to devise messaging that would justify their callous budget cuts to Persons with Developmental Disabilities programs. “You’d think with all these highly paid communications experts on the government payroll, they wouldn’t have to contract out these kinds of projects,” Anderson said. “If these people aren’t doing the jobs taxpayers are paying them handsomely to do, what exactly are they doing?” Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said the money wasted on excessive communications staff could be put to better use. “We have schools being promised all over the province without so much as a shovel in the ground,” McAllister said. “I think Albertans are far more interested in having classroom space for their kids than having more spin doctors on the government payroll.”