Mayors and councillors from across the province seem to be having a grand old time in Vancouver this week for their annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention. It's undoubtedly good for the downtown hotel and beverage trade.
But, given the worrying economy, I think they should have stayed home this year and held their meetings by teleconference, saving a ton of taxpayers' money.
[Editor's Note: The following letter was received from Coun. Sushil Thapar of the City of Quesnel. Mr. Thapar has been in the local news lately in Quesnel because of his position on city council as finance chair. Being in that portfolio Coun. Thapar is naturally privy to the financial goings on of council and found himself in the unenviable position of having to scrutinize the spending habits of some council members who appear to be going over their alloted budgets as well as living high on the hog when out of the city on council business.
Such revelations have not gone unnoticed by the Mayor, Mary Sjostrom as well as other council members associated with this current tempest who have been named in other media outlets in Quesnel. The repercussions of Coun. Thapar's transparency have been volatile to say the least with allegations flying back and forth like ping pong balls. Thapar's latest letter is a vindication of the many accusations made by Coun. Roodenburg in her letter to the Quesnel Cariboo Observer of July 15, 2011.
Re: Travel budget has no bearing on censure, Observer Feedback section, July 15, 2011.
Further clarification is required concerning the many comments of Councillor Roodenburg, some misleading and others I believe are simply false.
Contrary to Roodenburg statements I was censured for asking questions publicly and it started with Roodenburg’s over-budget travel expense account.
I simply asked acting administrator, Jack Marsh why it was approved. I also asked a question of Ken Coombs regarding West Fraser Timber Park and the $18,000 as I could not recall what it was approved for.
My last concern was the Freedom of Information bill of $262 I received from the city, which I brought up at a regular council meeting. Roodenburg has a travel budget of $4,000 which she is supposed to manage and live within. It is her responsibility to decide which functions are important and to prioritize how her allotted budget is spent.
Clearly council members cannot attend every function. Her travel expenses for 2010 were actually $5639.91 (these figures were taken from cheque listings and VISA statements.)