Who gets paid what
MLAs say public should know what top GNWT executives make

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 27/98) - Yellowknife Centre MLA Jake Ootes says the of GNWT employees Premier Morin tabled in the legislative assembly last month is not good enough.

He still wants to know who is making $100,000-plus a year.

"The initial intent was to try and shed some light on where the senior people are," said Ootes.

"This doesn't clarify completely so I still have a problem with the list. It just generalizes rather than putting it into specific categories."

Ootes and Iqaluit MLA Ed Picco have been pressuring the government to disclose salaries to identify areas that might be of concern.

They were also interested in knowing who the people are in the senior group and what pay rate they are at.

"They've generalized it here, too -- I noticed like the executive management the generalization is $120,000 to $150,000 and they go by salary band, so we really don't know. My desire was to have those people over $100,000 and identify the amount."

On May 13, 1996, the legislative assembly approved a motion to introduce legislation that would require public disclosure of salaries and benefits paid to GNWT employees receiving pay more than $100,000 annually.

Last February, Morin announced that the government was seeking legal advice from the Department of Justice on the issue. The department later decided that to release the detailed information would be considered inappropriate under the Access to Information and Privacy Act.

"The opinion indicated that the release of specific salary information would be an unreasonable invasion of privacy under the act," said Morin on March 3 in the House.

"Given that opinion, staff reviewed different options that could be used to provide members with some information without breaking the law."

As a result Morin tabled salary ranges.

Ootes plans to ask more questions on the disclosure of salaries and seek further clarification when the legislature reconvenes next month.

"We need to really sit down and strategize this a bit and find out how to get more clarification provided for us on this issue. It also doesn't include the boards," said Ootes. The Yellowknife Centre MLA said he is not interested in the salaries of board members but he is keen on finding out what the chief executive officers who sit on some of the government corporations make.

"It's important because these are almost public figures. The deputy ministers are certainly in the limelight quite a bit. I think it's important for the public to know and understand where these people are," said Ootes.

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