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BC legislature clerk to leave retirement deal to library

VICTORIA – British Columbia's retired legislature clerk plans to donate the $500,000 he receives in a controversial post-retirement consulting contract to the legislature's library when he dies.

George MacMinn, 82, said he will include instructions in his will that ensure the library at the legislature receives the money — minus the income tax he pays.

Earlier this month, MacMinn sent a letter to the speaker of the legislature Bill Barisoff saying he will donate the money to the library in the hopes his decision prompts a return to more important matters at the legislature that involve the strengthening of democracy.

"I have instructed my solicitors to prepare a codicil to my will arranging for $500,000 (less income tax paid) to be paid or transferred to the legislative library of British Columbia under the terms and conditions contained in the said codicil, which will be signed on September 1, 2013,"MacMinn's letter stated.

"The net result is that all remuneration paid to the consultant will be paid to the legislative library."

MacMinn's two-year post-retirement consultant contract was the subject of considerable debate last summer by the all-party government committee that oversees government finances.

Opposition New Democrat committee member John Horgan said last August the contract with MacMinn was unnecessary.

"When people retire they get a gold watch and they move away. They don't get a two-year contract," he said.

The committee, which includes three Liberals, Barisoff, and two New Democrats, agreed to examine MacMinn's contract.

On Wednesday, the committee voted to send a letter to MacMinn thanking him for his gift and thanking him on behalf of the legislature and the people of British Columbia.

Earlier last summer, Auditor General John Doyle delivered a scathing report on the financial management of the legislature that revealed a mess in the legislature's books that made it impossible to conclude if money was being well spent or squandered.

Doyle's report found that MLA credit card bills were paid without receipts and the legislative assembly hasn't produced financial statements despite a 2007 recommendation from the previous auditor general.

Legislative Clerk Craig James told the committee he's been making progress on getting the legislature's financial books in order with the help of outside agencies.

MacMinn retired last year after serving for 54 years at the legislature.

[Editor's note: For more background on this issue, see these Tyee stories: Retired clerk to BC legislature mum on pay, keeps office, and Two-year transition on BC legislative clerks too long, says NDP's Horgan.]

-Dirk Meisner reports for the Canadian Press.

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