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A transparent idea: Mayor says council expenses should be online

March 21st, 2010 · 25 Comments

This just out from city hall today. Strikes me as a motion created to give the media something to gnaw on on a quiet Sunday besides endless blog circling around the Tsisserev mystery story. Looks like it promotes transparency, without giving away too much. Councillors’ expenses are, for the most part, completely boring and uninteresting. Even those who faithfully track them every year can barely get an angle out of them. More interesting would have been to put the entire mayor’s office expenses online. Perhaps the city manager’s too, along with the special fund the city manager directs — unless Penny Ballem got rid of this interesting little piggy bank that’s been around for a decade or so.

N.B. Even though it doesn’t specifically say so in this news release, I have been assured, since I put this up on the blog, by the powers that be at city hall that this motion will also refer to the expenses of the mayor’s entire office (which includes costs of all staff, travel not just for the mayor but anyone travelling with him from the office, and other things that go well beyond just the mayor’s travel and miscellaneous expenses.) We don’t even get an unexplained total of those expenses in the skimpy report going to council this Tuesday, as has been the practice since time in my memorial.

Mayor Robertson calls for Council expenses to be available on-line

Vancouver – Mayor Gregor Robertson will be introducing a motion on Tuesday to have the details of Council’s expenses posted on-line for the public to view, in a move to increase transparency and accountability at City Hall.

“Vancouver lags behind other cities when it comes to openness and accountability,” said Mayor Robertson. “In cities like Toronto, you can view on-line a detailed breakdown of each councillor’s local and travel expenses, but in Vancouver, you have to request it.”

A report coming to Council on Tuesday outlines the remuneration and expenses for Council in 2009, but does not provide details on what those expenses actually are. Anyone who wants to see what the expenses are has to request it through the City Clerk’s Office.

“We should be making it as easy as possible for the public to see how City Council spends its money,” said the Mayor. “By posting the details of individual expenses on-line, taxpayers can see what their elected officials are spending their budgets on. Other cities around the world already do this and it’s time Vancouver did too.”

Categories: City Hall Talk