Suspended with pay

An edited version of this letter to the editor of the Montreal Gazette appeared in the 2004-8-2 edition under the heading “Suspension with pay not a bad idea”.

Given the demonstrated inability of many government or crown corporation bureaucrats to do their jobs properly, it seems pretty clear that they are on the receiving end of a form of welfare. This becomes more obvious when these same bureaucrats are “suspended with pay” (”Canada Post boss Ouellet is grilled over $2 million in expenses”, Gazette, July 30, 2004). As taxpayers, this may be to our benefit; after all, someone who is not working is unlikely to run up $2 million in expenses over 8 years, and hopefully will not be able to “influence the procurement process and/or outcome” or take part in so-called “special hires” that circumvent normal hiring practices. This makes suspensions with pay a win-win proposition: the bureaucrat is on permanent holiday, and the taxpayer saves money. We only need to remove the stigma of being “suspended”; we could call it “early retirement” instead!

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