The first part of this article was written in November 2009; the addendum added April 2016.
An inquisitive child, I asked Grandmother, “Are you rich?”
She said, “No, but we’re comfortable.”
Still curious, I asked, “Will you get rich?”
Her reply, “No, you don’t become rich working for the government, but you can get a small pension and be comfortable.”
As time went by, comfortable turned to something else. The old girl lived to be 100, four years longer than her forest ranger. But, this was a time without adjustments or indexing. You opened and ended retirement with the same pension. Life though offered them rewards in other ways. They had unending pride in the land they pioneered. Something about service to the country and making it better for 24 grandchildren.
I imagine that senior public servants in modern days are much the same, happy to build a great land and proud of commendations from the high and mighty. Some may labour for years with little notice. Others are more fortunate.
Lee Doney is one example of a loyal public servant who was noticed. He retired in 2004 after more than 30 years of service and Hon. G. Campbell paid this tribute in the Legislature (Hansard, April 27, 2004):
Today I rise to recognize the many contributions of a career public servant, Lee Doney. He’s joined today by his mother and his family.
Lee is retiring this year. Certainly, it will be a great loss to British Columbia’s public service. . . . He has, in fact, been an exemplary public servant for the last 30 years.
Mr. Doney worked hard for this province. We hope he remains healthy and isn’t forced to take on part time jobs to remain comfortable.
ADDENDUM – 2016
It turned out that the retired public servant was forced to find new employment. Despite the generous pension afforded senior government executives, Doney has eked out a living by working in various suites of offices including those of the Public Sector Employers’ Council Secretariat (President), the Columbia Power Corporation (Chairman) and Western Forest Products Inc. (Chairman). No doubt his part time employment and close relationship with BC Liberals is helpful in WFP’s dealings with government.
Here is a recap of government payments to Mr. Doney as reported in Public Accounts.