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Mayor opposes councillors reporting expenses

Campbell River councillors may soon have to report all of their council-related expenses online for everyone to see, but not everyone on council is on board.

The initiative comes from Coun. Andy Adams who would like to see council follow the provincial government’s lead.

Starting this fall, B.C. MLA’s will have to post all of their expense receipts on a public government website which will provide an in-depth, item by item list. Adams said Campbell River councillors should do the same, as the city’s finance staff already keep records of each councillor’s expenses and it’s just a matter of uploading them online. But Mayor Walter Jakeway disagrees and said that it will take up too much of staff’s time.

“It’s just busy work,” said Jakeway, who was the only member of council to oppose publishing council’s expense accounts. “We’re trying to cut down on staff work and the total (expenses) is peanuts.”

Adams said the information is already there and at last week’s council meeting he put forward a motion directing city staff to investigate what the province is doing and report back on the possibility of the city doing the same.

Councillors would have to publish their expenses for “remuneration, food, travel, accommodation, etc. including expenses for council-related assignments and affiliations such as: Strathcona Regional District, Comox Strathcona Regional Solid Waste Committee, Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital Board, Vancouver Island Regional Library Board” and other annual municipal conferences such as the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, the Union of BC Municipalities and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

A provincial all-party committee voted in May to publish itemized MLA expenses in the interest of full disclosure to B.C. taxpayers.

B.C. Finance Minister Mike De Jong said last month there needs to be more transparency when it comes to MLAs spending public money.

 

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