Spending fiasco

It would be an amazing thing if provincial and federal bureaucrats couldn’t grasp why on earth so many citizens have virtually no trust or respect in them. When they run around blowing thousands of taxpayer dollars on everything from lavish meals to car repairs for expensive vehicles and butler services, it’s absolutely outrageous and disturbing to think about.

As it is well known by now, AHS Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Allaudin Merali was let go recently after documents from years ago surfaced, indicating high tabs of more than $300,000 was spent on traveling and entertaining among other things over the past few years. According to news reports, examples include $1,600 for a meal at an Edmonton restaurant, a $10,000 trip to Spain and $2,300 for a phone for his Mercedes.

What happens to some people when they land government jobs? How do they go from wanting to (we presume) serve the public in a responsible and efficient manner to feeling this unbelievable sense of entitlement?

Merali clearly felt it was his right to spend taxpayer money however he pleased, and even more troubling is that these expenses were all approved. In a time when all we hear about is how healthcare is in such dire straights when it comes to funding, it’s scary to hear about this kind of reckless behaviour. Plus it all unfolded during years of serious economic hardship for many across the province.

If these documents hadn’t surfaced about his spending habits, where would it end? So many like him are only forced to quit their ridiculous behaviour when they are caught. In Merali’s case, the questions about this kind of spending stretched back years. How did he get away with this? Government spokespeople say they are outraged, but they perhaps should have done their homework more carefully when they hired him.

It makes you wonder how deep this all goes. It also brings back recent memories of the infamous ‘do nothing committee’ in Alberta where members from all provincial political parties were paid regularly for never meeting. This would also have continued indefinitely if it hadn’t come to light.

Some politicians and bureaucrats never really learn as the consequences aren’t severe enough. These days, the powers that be are still trying to figure out what kind of severance package to give Merali. Unreal. He should charged with something and yet he will go on his merry way and likely land another plum job in another government somewhere else. On and on it goes.

It is really sick to see this happen time and again, and it’s very disheartening. How can the public trust a politician or a top-level bureaucrat after incidences like this?