Today, gentle readers, I will write only half a column.
The second part of my deathless prose will only be penned if you give me a massive bonus.
That’s how it worked at the Pork Am — er, Pan Am — Games. I’m sure it can work for me.
Pan Am bosses cleaned up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses — despite the fact that the games, according to auditor general Bonnie Lysyk, cost $342 million more than initially budgeted.
It was only because the budget kept increasing that the games were able to come in “under budget.” Between the 2009 bid and October 2014, the budget was hiked three times — from $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion — allowing the games to come in “under budget” at $1.7 billion.
The province covered most of the $342 million.
Now that’s a “stretch” budget.
But by coming in under budget, the fat cats with their bloated salaries still got their bloated bonuses. CEO Saad Rafi CEO collected a cool $438,718 in salary. Before bonus.
There were 53 executives who qualified for bonuses.
Tourism Minister Michael Coteau gave the most astonishing explanation for why TO2015 had to pay these gold-plated bonuses to people who were already making gold-plated salaries.
“If we don’t pay them, people take flight,” he said.
“We could have had these key people who are organizing this games for five years jump to 2016 Rio. The completion bonuses are kept there to keep people in their jobs until the end.”
Really? Here’s an idea, minister. Next time you negotiate a contract with an employee, tell them if they take flight — they don’t get paid.
“Although TO2015’s net operating budget was increased by $74 million, the TO2015 board decided to pay 100% of the bonus to employees,” Lysyk told reporters Wednesday.
And 25% of those bonuses were paid to the bosses for meeting the capital budget — even though TO2015 was only responsible for managing 2% of the capital budget infrastructure.
The rest was handled by universities, municipalities and so on.
So 25% of their bonus was based on something they didn’t do.
Where can I get that kind of job? They got paid for someone else’s work.
Much as Coteau tried to put a happy face on it, pointing out that the Athletes’ Village came in on time and on budget, the hypocrisy is when you’re setting your own budget targets, it’s pretty tough to miss them.
And when your bonus is based on your ability to meet budget, you’re going to ratchet up the budget when you can’t make your goal.
Your salary is from the public purse. Your budget is from the public purse.
Who’s going to complain — except the auditor?
PC Leader Patrick Brown questioned why we’re paying people to show up for work.
“Simply showing up for work and getting lavish bonuses doesn’t seem appropriate for a province that is awash in deficit,” Brown said.
I’ll say. Here’s the bad news:
The guy who brought the games in over the original budget but under the stretch budget is the person who’s going to be in charge of your pension.
That’s right. Rafi has gone on to greater glory at the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.
Some people get all the golden parachutes.
And the winners of the Pan Am pork trough challenge are:
GOLD MEDAL: TO2015 bosses who raked in massive bonuses, despite the fact the games cost $365 million more than the original bid of $1.4 billion.
SILVER: Broadcast rights — usually a source of “significant revenue,” according to the auditor. Not so for Pan Am. The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) retained and sold international broadcast rights to the games and didn’t share that revenue with TO2015.
TO2015 concluded they were entitled to 50% of net revenues from the sale of international broadcast rights. They’ve been unsuccessful getting any money from PASO, despite numerous attempts.
TO2015 paid PASO $20 million for the right to sell sponsorships to the games, and to sell film, video, TV, Internet and radio rights within Canada. Projected revenues from the sale of broadcast rights were $2.6 million, but actual revenues were just $300,000.
It cost TO2015 nearly $22 million to produce the broadcast feed for the games because PASO required it to provide a TV signal of international quality.
BRONZE: Pachi the Porcupine. What’s not to love about a made-in-China stuffed toy that was the games mascot? Well, it seems sales weren’t what they’d hope for.
Projected revenue from licensing in the 2009 bid budget was $3.6 million. Actual licensing revenue was only $2.1 million, due to lower merchandise sales.
A retailer of games merchandise who operated three stores and several smaller booths filed for bankruptcy, owing TO2015 about $654,000.
RUNNER-UP: Control-ALT-Delete. Hard drives were wiped as employees left 2015 after the games, making it tougher for the auditor general to do her work.