I am writing in response to the article regarding the “Council expense review calls for changes,” Gazette, April 8.
I don’t understand the demand for an independent audit. City staff conducted a review of ALL council’s expenses not just sampling as would have been done in an independent audit. City staff has spent over 200 hours on this issue and if an accountant was hired to do an external audit it would become very, very costly. As a taxpayer I am satisfied with the city led audit and I am not in favour of spending our tax dollars on an external independent audit. This is a waste of money.
Nitpicking councillors expenses does not accomplish anything except waste time and enough time has been spent on this issue. As Coun. Wes Brodhead said in the article “I don’t think there’s anybody who can stake out the moral high ground here and pitch rocks at anybody else.” As a concerned tax paying citizen of St. Albert I am not OK with Coun. Cam McKay purchasing a $30 pen, Coun. Sheena Hughes buying a blanket and a briefcase, city councillors expensing office supplies that are provided by the city, and double billing mileage; all with my tax dollars.
The policies regarding expenses are unclear. If this chain of events has accomplished anything it has made our elected officials aware there are large holes in the policies regarding expenses. I say thank you to Coun. Cathy Heron for putting forth the motion to review expenses and clear up the policies. From this point forward I think council should focus on creating clear policies regarding expenses so there is a consistency between policy and standards practiced. Clear guidelines and policies will hold EVERYONE accountable for the expenses they claim. I am asking council to accept the results of the review and move forward on other issues affecting us.
Shelley Carey, St. Albert