County of Wetaskiwin council instructed their CAO to bring them more options regarding travel and other expenses after the issue was discussed at the Oct. 8 regular council meeting.
The issue was brought forward by CAO Rod Hawken, who stated that there were some expenses being claimed on councilor’s submissions that technically weren’t listed in policies.
“Administration has noticed that when Councilors are claiming mileage on their monthly claim forms, items are being claimed that have not been approved by Council,” stated Hawken in his report.
“For example, mileage to meet a ratepayer to discuss an issue.”
The CAO stated council had previously approved 54 cents per kilometer to be reimbursed to councilors to attend regular board and committee meetings.
Hawken stated in his report, “The 2018/2019 Boards and Committees Listing lists all the Boards and Committees that are to be paid a Per Diem and Mileage.
“The following Boards and Committees are included: Agricultural Service Board (ASB), Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) Partnership Advisory Committee, Appeal Board Members to hear appeals under the Agricultural Pests Act (APA) Section 14(5) 4, Appeal Board Members to hear appeals under the Weed Control Act (WCA) Section 19(1), Composite Assessment Review Board (CARB) appeal hearings, International Union of Operating Engineers Negotiation Committee, Local Assessment Review Board (LARB) appeal hearings and Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.”
Councilor Kathy Rooyakkers stated Hawken should never sign off on any expense claim unless it was approved by council beforehand. Rooyakkers stated if it wasn’t approved by council, there should be no reimbursement.
Councilor Lyle Seely agreed with Rooyakkers.
Councilors discussed the issue that, for example, meeting with ratepayers in a large division could result in a councilor using a lot of fuel traveling back and forth.
A motion to leave the travel subsidy policy as-is was defeated by a 3-4 vote.
Councilors then unanimously approved a motion that the issue be tabled; and that administration draft recommendations to amend Councilor Attendance at Conferences and Meetings Policy 11.0.3 with regards to attendance at any other meeting or conference.