Administrators’ wages are cause for concern

Media Appearances, Public Sector, Frontier Centre

For any Nova Scotians who may not know, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy is an independent, non-profit organization based in western Canada that undertakes research and education in support of economic growth and social outcomes that will enhance the quality of life in their communities.

One of the studies they commissioned released a report recently fingering Manitoba’s provincial government as having a larger and more expensive public sector than most other provinces.

The report looked at the number of administrators per 100,000 population, and compared their average salary levels to those of other administrators in the province.

The numbers are quite startling, but before looking at Nova Scotia it is important to note the problem discovered ranges across all levels of government in every province.

Considering the Dexter government’s announcement this week of a 1 per cent increase for its non-unionized employees, and the uproar it will certainly cause, a look at the problem presented in the report is revealing.

For starters, in 2008 the province had 1,036 public administration employees for every 100,000 persons in the province, the sixth highest total in Canada. That amounts to more than 9,000 employees in Nova Scotia.

As far as salary goes, in 2008 each of those employees brought in an average of $942 a week.

While neither the number of employees nor the average salary may raise many eyebrows, consider this.

The average salary in 2008 for public administrators outside the provincial government was $713 per week.

For those without a calculator, government administrators were averaging more than $200 per week more than their counterparts.

That’s more than $10,000 a year.

Not enough to make your jaw drop yet. Consider that $10,000 plus multiplied by the 9,000 administrators the province employs. That comes to more than $90-million taxpayer dollars.

The mantra is that you have to pay a premium to get the best people, and certainly unionized employees are driving that number, but there must be a solution that would make more of those dollars available to deal with more vital issues than padding bureaucrats’ pockets.