How do you spend $6,500 on entertainment/meals?

I have known some high rollers in my day. Folks who rack up some pretty large scale restaurant bills. But there’s a story in the TJ this A.M. that is a little hard to believe.

Andre-Marc Allain, the former managing director of of communications and marketing for Business New Brunswick, spent roughly $6,500 in entertainment and meal tab for the fiscal year 2005-2006 but he only provided less than $400 in detailed meal receipts.

Allain spent $348 at Seven Wine Bar in Halifax but what the communications director purchased is not detailed.

Apparently, he spent $53k on travel and entertainment/meals.

Now, I don’t mind BNB employees getting out there. In fact, the sales guys/gals should be on the road selling New Brunswick. But $6,500 in one year is an awful lot of meals.

Having worked for the private and public sector for many years, I can tell you that $6,100 in non-detailed receipts would not be acceptable in any organization. Why BNB?

I must be getting senile because I missed my main point in the post above. What this ‘investigative’ journalist should have been looking for is how many companies did Allain visit? What were the names of the clients at these dinners? How many set up in New Brunswick? How many jobs were created? That Wine Bar in Halifax – I’m not as interested in the wine brand or the cost of a bottle but I think we should know how many companies set up in New Brunswick and what the economic impact has been. That $53k in expenditures may have been worth it if hundreds of jobs came to New Brunswick as a result.

The default position of the media and many folks in the public (including myself sometimes) is that these guys like Allain just junketed around the world on the taxpayer nickel with no benefit to the province. His salary and expenses amounted to $130k per year. What they should be telling us is whether there was good value in these expenditures and value is measured based on results. And results, in the case of BNB, is jobs created, economic impact, etc.