The ghosts of Bill Murray

In the wake of the Sun’s reports of “high-flying” CBC board members comes ATI-fueled reports from La Presse that Rabinovitch spent $340,000 on travel and restaurants in his last 3 years.

These accusations are totally retro. Before we had a president, we had a general manager who loved England, the Queen, and his booze. In that order. He also loved to buy rounds of drinks for everyone in the bar. His name was Gladstone Murray. Everyone called him “Bill.” This was before Caddyshack, in 1937.

He was paid $13,000 a year. But in 1939-40 he charged nearly $15,000 in expenses to the CBC and in 1940-41 he charged around $14,500. He had a then-outrageous travel per diem of $20 a day. There was a parliamentary committee in 1942. Bill was vilified for his spending and removed as general manager. There was a war on, after all.

I really don’t have much of a problem with executives and board members flying Executive and Board Member Class on airplanes. We should be thankful they show up to meetings at all. The 2006-2007 CBC annual report includes this attendance report card:

  Board of Directors (6 regular meetings, 1 conference call and 2 special meetings) Nominating and Governance Committee (4 meetings) Human Resources and Compensation Committee (4 meetings) Audit Committee (6 regular meetings and 1 conference call) Standing Committees on English and French Broadcasting (3 meetings) Special Committee on Public Support (6 regular meetings and 1 conference call)
Robert Rabinovitch 7/7 N/A 4/4 N/A 3/3 N/A
Guy Fournier 3/3 N/A 2/2 3/3 3/3 N/A
Johanne Brunet 7/7 N/A N/A 7/7 3/3 7/7
Bernd Christmas 6/7 N/A N/A 7/7 3/3 N/A
Hélène Fortin 7/7 N/A N/A 7/7 3/3 N/A
Peter Herrndorf 7/7 4/4 N/A N/A 3/3 7/7
Yasmin Jivraj 6/7 2/4 N/A N/A 1/3 N/A
Nezhat Khosrowshahi 5/7 4/4 3/4 N/A 2/3 N/A
Howard McNutt 4/5 3/3 3/3 N/A 2/3 N/A
Trina McQueen 7/7 N/A 3/4 N/A 3/3 6/7
K. (Rai) Sahi 1/7 1/4 N/A 1/7 1/3 N/A
Edna Turpin 2/2 N/A 1/1 N/A N/A N/A

It’s hard enough to take these people seriously as it is. And we all miss a few meetings. But a guy like K. (Rai) Sahi misses most of them. And it’s not like we’re asking them to do this for free. The annual report says they get paid $2,000 to attend a board meeting, $1,300 to take part in an audit committee meeting, $1,000 for any other committee meeting, and $250 if they phone it in on a conference call.

We’ll even fly them in first class.

The least they can do is show up.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted March 30, 2008 at 12:34 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Mary McNeil, newly appointed Governor has just quit.

    That’s according to a note on the tragic Insnide the CBC blog.

    30 days and not even a penny?

    Couldn’t stand flying in coach or the Transcontinental train?

    [ We don’t have a google account, nor an “openID” whatever, nor a URL at all, so we “choose an indentity” as it says below the text box of …

  2. Anonymous
    Posted March 19, 2008 at 11:56 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The amount of money wasted in the CBC/SRC on flights, etc… is a joke! Ignoring the environmental implications of all of those cross-country (cross-global) flights….why should we all pay the price so a select few ( and I hear it really isn’t that few) can ride “front of the bus”? If you have to go, then fly the cheap seats, like the rest of us!
    Don’t tell me there isn’t enough money for jobs! BS!

  3. Anonymous
    Posted March 19, 2008 at 8:39 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    And once again, Peter H has a perfect record.

    Not like it’s a huge thing making 15 or so meetings in a year, but that’s pretty good considering how many meetings we all miss.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted March 19, 2008 at 6:55 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    See, that’s just it… can anyone point to a story – one single story, in all this flurry – that lists attendance, hotel rates or expenses of other corporate executives or board members?

  5. iNudes
    Posted March 19, 2008 at 6:43 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Noting of course that the attendance record is pretty good. They’re doing better than most politicians or high school students…It makes me feel better when I hear their compensation is based on participation. If we were still paying them and they didn’t show up I’d be more outraged.

    If they aren’t showing up and we aren’t paying them it does beg the question why they’re on the board at all.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted March 18, 2008 at 7:58 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Maybe the Sun scribes should look into the history of the “little paper that grew.” Founder Doug Creighton (RIP) was as much a fun loving guy as Bill Murray. Man that guy loved his gin martinis and ceeegars! And business deals over 18 holes and developers and the Ontario Jockey Club and, well, flying executive class on the shareholders. And he’s probably getting a big laugh outta the rock throwin’ glass house dwellers who work there now! Tally ho!

  7. peterj
    Posted March 18, 2008 at 5:46 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Maybe it’s just me, but it looks like most of the execs and board members attend the meetings they’re supposed to, with Sahi a notable exception to the rule and Jivraj and Khosrowshahi getting a C grade. Unless there’s some meaning to “N/A” that isn’t apparent from the table… want to clarify the “them” who you want to “show up” more?

  8. Dwight Williams
    Posted March 18, 2008 at 5:35 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    What I thought when I first saw those headlines in the Ottawa Sun was this: “So they caught the bosses behaving like network executives Getting the Job Done. I’m supposed to think that this is a scandal?!?

    Try again, people.

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