PMO staff reimbursing $64,000 in moving expenses

Of course NOW, they say that they think that it was too much and want to pay some of it back. Just like the kid caught in the cookie jar; the kid didn’t feel bad until he was caught.

Lets go Canada, it’s time for a new political party, use the contact link at the top of our website/blog and ask how you can help.

We have a plan to save over $1B per year without costing 1 person their job and that’s just the start of many of our plans to stop wastage and help all Canadians now and into the future.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top two staffers are reimbursing some of the expenses they claimed for their moves to Ottawa, they said in a Facebook post Thursday evening.

Chief of staff Katie Telford and principal secretary Gerry Butts say they aren’t comfortable with the “personalized cash payouts and incidentals” they received as part of the expenses covered by the government when they each moved from Toronto to Ottawa to work for Trudeau.

According to the breakdown posted on Butts’ Facebook page, Telford received $80,382.55 and Butts received $126,669.56 to cover the cost of their moves.

Telford is repaying $23,373.71 and Butts is repaying $20,799.10 for those “personalized cash payouts.” Butts says he is also repaying part of the land transfer tax for his new Ottawa home. He will repay the amount over and above the average land transfer tax in Ottawa, which brings his total repayment to $41,618.62, Trudeau’s spokeswoman said.

Telford’s breakdown doesn’t include land transfer taxes because she is renting accommodation in Ottawa rather than purchasing.

The amounts eligible for reimbursement also include moving logistics, administration fees and travel costs.

The bulk of the money went to real estate fees and, in Butts’ case, to the land transfer tax. He also charged more than $18,000 to cover the cost of an apartment in which he lived temporarily.

“The principle we took to these decisions is that we should only be reimbursed the actual cost we paid third parties to make the move happen,” they wrote in the post.

“While the rules were clear and we followed them, we both know that’s not always enough.”

Records show Telford sold her house in April for just over $1 million, nearly twice what she and her husband paid in 2008. Butts sold his home in July for just under $1 million, netting more than $600,000 since he bought it in 2002.

The government’s relocation policy allows staff moving for work to submit claims for their expenses. The expenses claimed by Butts and Telford broke no rules.

Conservative MPs, however, said they didn’t allow staff to submit moving bills that high. The Liberals responded that the moving policy was updated in 2008 under the Conservative government.

Trudeau has asked Treasury Board President Scott Brison to create a new policy governing relocation expenses, Butts said in the post.

The prime minister had earlier refused to say which two staffers in the Prime Minister’s Office had claimed the expenses.

“We know that some people will think that any amount for relocation is unreasonable, and that there never should have been such a policy in the first place,” they wrote.

“For our part, we want to make sure that our friends and families know we followed a policy that has been in place for decades, and will only be reimbursed for the hard costs of our families making the move.”



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