Rolling pins, goggles — some of the items on government’s shopping list

Barb Sweet
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When the provincial government has spent $59,580 on a Lullaby Blankie, you gotta ask the question.

Is it just one blankie?

Hopefully, in the name of fiscal prudence, someone has left the “s” off the reporting of that expenditure.

And if there are multiples of them, your mind can’t help but conjure up images of MHAs and cabinet ministers clutching their Lullaby Blankies.

But no, the blankies aren’t for the politicians and there were actually 6,000 of them at $9.93 apiece — all destined for the Learning Resources Distribution Centre in the Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood Learning.

According to Service NL (formerly the Department of Government Services), the blankies and Skip Hop Zoo Bath Mitts go into resource kits that will be given to parents of infants.

The Department of Education reports the blankies are small swatches featuring different materials for a baby to see and feel. They are designed to help infants become familiar with shapes, colours and textures.

This spring, the resource kits will be available during child health clinic visits.

The blankie is in the resource kits for two-month-olds, while the bath mitts are in the resource kits for six-month-olds.

The Lullaby Blankies are tender award TP111012469, one of the hundreds of tenders doled out every year by the provincial government.

And while most taxpayers associate tendered government spending with roads, equipment, building repairs and the like, there are some more unusual expenses and bulk purchases that show the high cost of running a provincial government.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the more novel purchases — and perhaps a reality check on just how much some things cost, such as painting a ferry. The information was gleaned from tenders awarded in 2011.

• Toilet tissue and paper towels: $1,671,113.12

• 6,000 Skip Hop Zoo Bath Mitts: $32,400.

• Five 60-inch television sets for the Department of Works, plus wall and ceiling mounts: $10,709.

• 22 42-inch TVs and six 46-inch TVs for the Department of Education, Nova Central School District Education Resource Centre: $17,699.72.

• 7,500 wooden rolling pins for the Learning Resources Distribution Centre in the Department of Education, for elementary arts kits: $23,775.

• 16 Apple 64-gigabyte iPads with Wi-Fi plus 3G, and covers, for the Office of the Chief Information Officer: $14,645.76.

• Printing of the 2011-12 Hunting and Trapping Guide:  $44,375.

• Dockside painting of the MV Northern Ranger: $95,231.35.

• Painting and clean the interior of the MV Northern Ranger: $57,123.48

• Providing National Employability Skills Program instruction to inmates at four correctional institutions: $68,100.

• Cardboard boxes and liners: $11,200.

• Printing and casebinding of the debates of the Newfoundland legislature 1933 (awarded to a Burlington, Ont. company): $12,705.

• Night vision goggles: $35,130.

• Standing offer agreement for the supply of envelopes : $739,595.49.

• Printing of Budget 2011 highlights for householders: $22,647.

• Standing offer agreement for the provision of long-term vehicle rentals (two companies): $149,719.

• Moving of household furniture and personal effects from Regina, Sask., to St. John’s in May 2011: $12,890.30.

• Moving of household furniture  and personal effects from Wabush to Corner Brook in June 2011: $29,500.

• Moving of household furniture and personal effects from Langley, B.C., to St. John’s in June 2011: $25,007.33

• Printing of public examinations: $23,081.

• Lubricants and greases: $1,382,985.29

Organizations: Department of Education, Learning Resources Distribution Centre, Skip Hop Zoo Bath Mitts Division of Early Childhood Learning.According Service NL Government Services MV Northern Ranger Department of Works Nova Central School District Education Resource Centre Office of the Chief Information Officer

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Burlington, Regina Sask. Wabush Corner Brook Langley

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Recent comments

  • Wince
    February 13, 2012 - 14:17

    Lube and Grease.... heh heh heh. All an iPad does is provide another electronic device to print documents from. To suggest they pay for themselves in in saved paper within weeks is laughable. But if you are a director looking to buy them for your management team, that argument will probably get your purchase order approved because there's always someone who actually believes it.

  • Chris
    February 13, 2012 - 11:50

    OK, OK...first of all, I know there are other factors such as amount of things to move, and weight, etc., but even so...does any one else find it at all disgusting that it is incredibly cheaper to move from Sask. to NL, and a little bit cheaper from BC to NL, then it is to move from from Wabush to Corner Brook!!!!

  • Lloyd
    February 13, 2012 - 10:17

    Something is missing: how much for cell phone coverage. Not jus the plain coverage, but all the bells, whistles, apps and etcetera?

  • Steve Winslow
    February 13, 2012 - 09:18

    Stephen is absolutely right. Lay off them, Telegram!. Government does a fine enough job of appearing like baffoons all by themselves!

  • stephen
    February 13, 2012 - 07:48

    This is such shoddy journalism. "Lets print a bunch of government expenditures, simplify their descriptions, and make government look like buffoons". Highlighting the budget for toilet paper and paper towel - does the writer believe that public servants should wipe themselves with their fingers, and dry their hands in their pants? As far as the Ipads go, government should be encouraging their use, as they pay for themselves in print and paper costs within months if not weeks.