March 15, 1995 Executive Council 57

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March 15, 1995 Executive Council 57 Title: Wednesday, March 15, 1995 Date: 1995/03/15 [Chairman: Mr. Magnus] Time: 3:02 p.m. Designated Subcommittee THE CHAIRMAN: Okay, I'll call this meeting to order.
March 15, 1995 Executive Council 57 Title: Wednesday, March 15, 1995 Date: 1995/03/15 [Chairman: Mr. Magnus] Time: 3:02 p.m. Designated Subcommittee THE CHAIRMAN: Okay, I'll call this meeting to order. This is, of course, the designated supply subcommittee on Executive Council. The first order of business is a procedural motion, which is the agreement between the House leaders. Everybody should have a copy of it. Corinne's handed it out. It basically says: Be it resolved that the Designated Supply Subcommittee on Executive Council allocate the 4 hours allotted to it pursuant to Standing Order 56(7)(b) as follows: (a) the Minister responsible... addresses the Subcommittee for a maximum of 20 minutes, (b) Opposition Subcommittee members and Independent Subcommittee members then have 1 hour for questions and answers, That is a maximum of 1 hour. We then revert to the (c) Government Subcommittee members... have 1 hour for questions and answers, Then the Opposition again has 1 hour more for questions and answers, and (e) Government Subcommittee members have the remainder of the 4 hour [period of time]. We do need a motion on this, so I'll get somebody to move this, please. Thank you. Seconded by Hung. All those in favour? Any opposed? None opposed. The only other thing I'll say S and I'm trying to make this brief, because we are a little bit stretched for time, and we're a couple of minutes late S is that this is not a policy meeting. We've discussed this before. Most members sitting in this room today have done at least one of these committees before. We are here to discuss estimates. Policy is in the realm of the minister and cabinet, and the minister is available in question period and in Supply to answer policy questions. This is a meeting on the estimates. What will happen is that if somebody gets into a pure policy question, I will probably stop the question. If the minister chooses to answer it at that point in time, he may. If not, then we'll go on to the next question. Obviously, we've had a few changes since the last one of these that we did, so we're going to be fudging it just a little bit at this stage of the game. MR. SEKULIC: I agree with what you're saying; however, I want to reference Beauchesne 953 on page 261. It says that the whole management of a department may be discussed in a general way when the committee is considering the first item of the Estimates of that department, which reads as follows: Vote 1 S Administration. The second point I want to raise is Erskine May, page 706: On a main estimate it is in order to discuss the general policy which lies behind the demand for that particular sum of money. So there's a bit of latitude there, and I just want to make sure that we can exercise that. THE CHAIRMAN: There is a little bit of latitude, but again it's up to the chair to make that decision. I can quote you three or four different places here, if you'd like, on different rules that state that this is not a policy meeting, as is Committee of Supply within the Chamber itself. It's not a policy meeting, so we hope to stay reasonably close to estimates. If you want to ask something with a little bit of policy in it, I'd ask that you hook it up to something related to estimates. In any event, Mr. Premier, you're up, and if you'd like to introduce your group there, it would be appreciated. Thank you. MR. KLEIN: Okay. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and hon. members. I'm pleased to participate in this round of hearings held by the subcommittee. This afternoon we'll be discussing areas for which I am responsible, namely Executive Council, which includes my office and general administration for Executive Council and the Lieutenant Governor's office. With me today is my deputy minister, Vance MacNichol. You all know Vance. Northern development is represented by one of the members of this subcommittee, and I don't know how we're going to work that. Nonetheless, the Northern Alberta Development Council is represented by the council chairman, Mr. Wayne Jacques, who is available to answer questions. I don't think he'll be required to come to this end of the table; he can probably do it right from there. The personnel administration office, represented by Mr. Jim Dixon, who is the Public Service Commissioner, and the Public Affairs Bureau, represented by the bureau's new managing director, Gerry Bourdeau and, of course, my own communications director, Jim Dau. Is Jim here? He is. Okay. Of course, I have with me today my colleague Mrs. Mirosh, who is here to answer your questions about science and research. As you know, Executive Council is ultimately responsible for co-ordinating our agenda for change. Our goal is to provide open, accountable government that lives within its means and delivers quality services at a low cost. We will continue to base government initiatives on three clear goals; that is, to implement the government's multiyear business plans, to streamline and deregulate government, and to create the climate for businesses to generate wealth and jobs for Albertans. Our ultimate goal, of course, remains to give Albertans the best services possible and the most value for their tax dollars. Executive Council, Mr. Chairman, is on track to meet its budget target of $23.7 million this year. First, speaking to northern development. Northern development has two components: the Northern Alberta Development Council, made up of eight public members and chaired by Mr. Jacques, and the administration of a federal/provincial cost-shared program designed to strengthen the economic base of Alberta's north. The program is through the application phase and will distribute funds to approved projects until , as planned. The council's primary mission is to promote economic and social development in northern Alberta through practical advice to government and through the delivery of development services to northerners. Over the past year it has sponsored research and discussion on access to telecommunications, local wood supplies, and electrical energy. The council will continue sponsoring public meetings to address development issues raised by northern Albertans, and it is on track to meet its budget target of $3 million this year. The personnel administration office, or PAO, is responsible for the central human resource management of government's biggest asset, and that asset of course is our employees. It provides programs and services to help our people manage change. Its workforce adjustment program helped reduce the size of our public sector by nearly 20 percent in just over two years. Almost half of those reductions were achieved by the early voluntary options program. So it demonstrates that indeed the program within the public service was carried out with understanding and compassion. Our workforce adjustment program offers support courses on job searching, interviewing, and résumé writing. As well, employees are eligible for a negotiated severance package providing for up to 43 weeks' salary for 13 full years of service. PAO made a major contribution to the government's fiscal agenda by negotiating a 5 percent compensation reduction with our union. PAO co-ordinates both the Premier's Forum, bringing together representatives from the broader public sector to help manage change, and the first ever 58 Executive Council March 15, 1995 Premier's award of excellence to recognize the exceptional work being done by our employees. I should note PAO's investment in a major redevelopment of the government's human resource information system, and you will note that in the budget books. This is the first year major systems developments have been reported as a capital investment in accordance with the Auditor General's recommendation. That recommendation was that those things that normally went into operating that exceed $100,000 now have to go into the capital side of the books. So this is a very important human resource support tool and is Executive Council's only capital investment, but over the long term, Mr. Chairman, it should prove to reduce considerably the ongoing operating costs. The public administration office is indeed on track to meet its budget target of $7.5 million in fiscal Communicating with Albertans has been a priority with our administration from day one, and it's extremely critical now as we undertake the kinds of changes that we have embarked upon. So the Public Affairs Bureau helps us make government information more accessible to Albertans. The bureau is a co-ordinated, governmentwide full-service agency. It assigns staff to departments and agencies to help develop and implement communications programs. It co-ordinates the purchase of advertising, printing, graphic design, and audiovisual services on behalf of government departments, and it operates the RITE telephone system, the Queen's Printer bookstores, and the Alberta Communications Network. The bureau is also on track to meet its budget target of $9.5 million this year and is forecasting $1.4 million in revenue through its Queen's Printer bookstore operation. So, ladies and gentlemen, members of the committee, those are my initial comments, and I now welcome a few comments from the Hon. Dianne Mirosh. MRS. MIROSH: Thank you, Mr. Premier, Mr. Chairman, and colleagues. I'm pleased to be here to participate in the budget with regards to the Science and Research Authority. As most of you are aware, the authority was set up in September of '94, six months ago, and it was created as a direct acknowledgement of the importance of the role of science and research in all departments and the role that it plays in the economy and in the lives of Albertans. It will function to ensure that our province's investments in science and research are effective and accountable and co-ordinated. As you can see in the estimates, as it relates to my portfolio, they're comprised of the minister's office, item 5.0.1, and the science and research secretariat, which is item Essentially the secretariat's function is to support the goals of the authority, and it provides assistance to the minister's office and the authority board of management. It works to identify the strategic goals and priorities in science and research. It will also serve to co-ordinate all the provincial funding in all the departments for R and D programs. Why the minister's office and the secretariat fall in Executive Council is for two reasons: so that the administrative expenses are held to a minimum by the use of Executive Council staff, and because the authority will work with all the research performing departments across government, it's essential for us to draw support from a neutral body such as Executive Council. As we're working into the development of our authority, Executive Council is assisting us to keep our staff at a minimum. In terms of spending, the minister's office and secretariat have a combined budget of $584,000. The minister's office represents $250,000, and the secretariat makes up the balance. I look forward to any comments that any of you have, and I am pleased to answer any questions. Thank you. 3:12 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. If there are no other comments, it is the Liberal side's one hour, starting now, to ask questions. In the past we've always just had a hand up so I knew who was doing it, and I took them as I saw them. Debby Carlson. MS CARLSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good afternoon, everyone. I'd like to start out with some general questions on program 1, office of the Premier and general administration. Can the Premier provide a breakdown of the estimated and forecast expenditures of the office of the Premier and general administration for ? MR. KLEIN: Well, to what degree would you like the breakdown? MS CARLSON: I think we'd like a format similar to last year. You provided some written supplements. MR. KLEIN: Yes, I guess I can. Do you want me to go through the whole thing? MS CARLSON: Yes. MR. KLEIN: Well, the Premier's office operating budget calls for $588,810 in salaries; correspondence, $263,000; communications, $182,000; the Calgary office, $265,000; planning and co-ordination, $541,000; finance and administration, $205,000; wages provision, $36,000. What is wages provision? MR. MacNICHOL: That's for temporary people. MR. KLEIN: Oh, the temps that we bring in. Okay. For a total manpower S do you want me to go through the kind of breakdown I've just given you? MS CARLSON: Yes, that's perfect. MR. KLEIN: First of all, total manpower, then, and things related to the workforce for a total of $2,084,225, including those components that I've just given you; travel and hosting and communications, purchased services, equipment, materials, and other accounts for $718,790. The breakdown is: travel, hosting, and communications, $270,000; purchased services, $217,450 S this is consultants and so on as required S equipment, material, and other, $230,940. The office of the Lieutenant Governor. Human resources S that is, person power S $128,000; supply and services, $51,200; for a total of $172,000. Then there is a further breakdown in travel, hosting, and communications, purchased services, materials, and others. I can go through that breakdown if you want, but it all depends how much time you want to take. MS CARLSON: Yes, I'd like that information. MR. KLEIN: Okay. In the category of travel, hosting, and communications, as I mentioned, we have $270,400; in purchased services, as I mentioned before, $217,450; and as I mentioned previously, in materials and others, $230,940; for a total of $718,790. The breakdown there, going to the first category, is travel, $171,800. By the way, that's travel within Alberta. This March 15, 1995 Executive Council 59 is not external travel, because my external travel would normally relate to, well, the First Ministers' Conference, which would come out of Federal and Intergovernmental Affairs. Anything I do in terms of getting out there and selling the Alberta advantage would be covered through the department that basically requires my services. In other words, we're going to Houston, next week I believe it is, and the budget for that will clearly come out of Economic Development and Tourism because it is purely an economic development initiative. So travel is $171,800; hosting, $54,100; postage and freight, $17,000; telephones, $27,500. Under purchased services, insurance is $5,000; rental, $68,025 S and Jim, we need a further breakdown there; I just don't have that breakdown in front of me S repairs to equipment and so on, $15,000; contracted services, $90,985; and EDP processing, $38,440. Purchased services: equipment, $102,440; materials, $128,500. There are 46 people in the Premier's office. This includes the people in my office, the research branch, correspondence division, cabinet supports, support to agenda and priorities and to Treasury. MS CARLSON: Two supplementals? THE CHAIRMAN: You can ask questions for the whole hour if your colleagues will allow it. MS CARLSON: Okay. I'd like a follow-up on your last statement, then, Mr. Premier. Can you indicate how many of those 46 FTEs under this vote are employed by the office of the Premier and in general administration, respectively? MR. KLEIN: Yes, I can. In the Premier's office S and I'll give you their names and titles if you wish S we'll start with Rod Love, who is the executive director, followed by his secretary, Lana Schmitz; followed by my executive assistant, Sheryl Burns, and my administrative assistant, Nargis Zaver, and my secretary, Colleen Marouelli, and the administrative assistant in the Premier's office, George Samoil, who is here today; a secretary, again, to Mr. Love's office, Sylvia Evans; administrative assistant Ivan Bernardo; one vacant research position; and Delilah Morgan, receptionist, and Lynn Hall, who are the frontline people taking all of the phone calls, some of them nasty and some of them good. MRS. MIROSH: Most of them good. MR. KLEIN: Right. In correspondence, there are seven staff. These include five writers. [The bell rang calling for a division in the Chamber] THE CHAIRMAN: Well, folks, there's bad news and there's bad news. My understanding is that when the bells ring, we are supposed to adjourn and go back to the House. 3:22 MR. KLEIN: Well, I don't mind if you don't mind. We can stop the clock right there. MS CARLSON: Good. That's great. MR. KLEIN: Okay; if you want. Sure. THE CHAIRMAN: We'll do that and continue where we left off when we come back. Motion to adjourn. All those in favour? Any opposed? None opposed. I'll call it adjourned. As soon as the vote's taken, please come back very quickly. MR. KLEIN: Okay. I was just going to the next category, which was communications. [The committee adjourned from 3:23 p.m. to 3:40 p.m.] THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Premier, you were on communications, I think. MR. KLEIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In communications we have Jim Dau, the director, and Fay Orr and Marisa Etmanski as assistants. In the Calgary office we have the director of the Calgary office, Hugh Dunne; secretary Joyce Austin; receptionist Lea Roberts; secretary Helena Gryckiewicz; and one vacant position. Then in planning and co-ordination there are nine staff, including Vance MacNichol; secretary, C. Thomlinson; the deputy cabinet secretary, Mr. Steeves; co-ordination officer Ms Critchlow; policy co-ordinator Doris Porter; policy co-ordinator Wendy Rodgers; co-ordination officer A. Hill; co-ordination officer Katherine Kinnee; and project officer K. Dawson. In finance and administration there are five staff members: K. Henke, director; administrative assistant J. Zowtuk; administrative officer K. Miller; accounts clerk N. Fazal; accounts clerk D. Stewart. There are three vacant positions in the provision for wage staff to deal with peak workloads, part-time staff, and we simply haven't taken any on. So that's a total of 38 staff, two vacancies, and three wage vacant; those are the part-time people that haven't been hired. Total office of the Lieutenant Governor: add three more. It brings it to 46. MS CARLSON: I'd like to request that that information actually be tabled for our benefit and then proceed with one more question. MR. KLEIN: Okay. MS CARLSON: You talked earlier about the travel not all being included within this ministry. Could you provide to us your total travel budget for the year from all departments? MR. KLEIN: As it affects my travel? MS CARLSON: Yes. MR. KLEIN: Or as it affects all the travel of all the ministers? MS CARLSON: No. MR. KLEIN: My travel that would be charged to other departments? MS CARLSON: Yes. MR. KLEIN: I'm sure we can get that. I don't have that information right here. MS CARLSON: To provide it later in writing would be fine. MR. KLEIN: Yes. Okay. 60 Executive Council March 15, 1995 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Ms Carlson. MR. SEKULIC: Mr. Premier, today we had a young guest from my constituency in the Legislature, and he spent the morning with our caucus. A very bright 11 year old, he wants in fact your job, so we're starting to get him ready early. He asked questions about S I know you know this question is coming. He asked questions about my salary and also asked what he can expect to make at some point in the future. Here the question isn't whether you earn it; it's a question as to what does a Premier make, and if you could break that down. MR. KLEIN: Well, basically I make what an MLA makes as an MLA, plus I get a salary S and this is how much I pay attention to it S of $56,865, and that is the Premier's salary. It's slightly more than a minister's salary or the salary of the Leader of the Official Opposition. There was a time S and I didn't know about this S that I had an additional $5,000. That, of course, has been eliminated. That was a clothing allowance. MR. SEKULIC: Okay. I take it, then, that now there aren't any special allowances included; or are there? Are special allowances includ
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