I received from a friend, Banack Bencher News #114. This newsletter is sent out by Ontario Bencher, Larry Banack. What caught my eye was the following provision:
The Treasurer has cancelled the Law Society's traditional end of term dinner which had recognized the hard work of Benchers and the sacrifice of our families. This will save about $75,000.00 [emphasis added]. This small step will hopefully be a prelude to more significant savings to reduce the high cost of self-regulation. It is in conjunction with the CEO quest for improvements to achieve operational and cost efficiencies to ensure that the Law Society will be on a sound financial footing for the future.
If you're like me, then the fact that one dinner for Benchers had a price tag of $75,000.00 totally blew your mind.
What are earth were they thinking of in years past?
That they were entitled?
Mr. Banack's comment about, the "hard work of Benchers and the sacrifice of our families" certainly has the scent of entitlement – which is even more incredible in the midst of a Senate entitlement scandal!
No one forced any Bencher to run for office. If giving back to the profession and being paid an honorarium is not enough for Benchers, then they have no business running for office.
Kudos to the Treasurer and the CEO for showing leadership, restraint and some savvy public relations thinking.
Cutting $75,000.00 does not make a dent in the Law Society's approx. $100 million budget that exploded under the Law Society's former CEO and former Benchers (many of whom are still Benchers today). But it does give the membership renewed hope that the new sheriff in town is serious about the Law Society's finances.
I hope that CEO Robert Lapper will be given all necessary support to take a hard look at all that our Law Society does – and to question why things are being done, and how they are being done.
Nothing should be off the table.
Nothing should be sacrosanct.
Fiscal responsibility has been sorely lacking for too many years so I'm glad to see that efficiency and cost savings are finally back in vogue at the Law Society in this province.