Lots of fat to cut in Ontario’s civil service – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun – May 12, 2014)

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Tim Hudak promises to cut broader civil service jobs by 100,000 positions. Is that all? It’s interesting to note that these are positions — not jobs. There may not actually be people in those positions. This, he says, will simply take the size of the civil service back to 2009 levels.

You only have to look at the size of the Sunshine list — the annual salary disclosure document that lists all public sector workers making more than $100,000 — to see some fat-trimming is long overdue.

Hudak says the public sector has grown by 300,000 over the past decade — just as the manufacturing sector has shrunk by that amount. Where to start? The bloated energy sector is a good place. Remember the old Ontario Hydro? In 1995, it operated power plants, transmission lines — and operated the system.

That was broken down into Hydro One, which operates the wires and Ontario Power Generation — the entity charged with looking after generating plants. The Independent Electricity System Operator runs the system.

The Liberal government then spawned an alphabet soup of energy-related organizations, including the Ontario Power Authority and the Ontario Energy Board.

They said this was in order to put energy planning at arm’s length from politicians. Then they scrapped two gas-fired power plants for purely political purposes. You could scrap the OPA tomorrow with no noticeable effect.

And OPG? The provincial auditor-general recently produced a scathing report on OPG, pointing out it routinely pays too much to its employees. An accounting manager makes $240,000 annually — $100,000 more than the going rate in the private sector.

OPG shelled out $392,000 in a housing allowance and moving expenses to an employee. And one employee was paid more than $80,000 for moving 10 kilometres from Toronto to Pickering — which was actually farther from his work.

Auditor Bonnie Lysyk also pointed to OPG’s gold-plated pension plan that has ratepayers paying four to five dollars for every $1 contributed by the employee.

For the rest of this column, click here: http://www.torontosun.com/2014/05/12/lots-of-fat-to-cut-in-ontarios-civil-service

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