Salmon Arm Council Line Item Expenses for 2013 …

… getting the ball rolling ?

Update (Nov 7 2013): Four of the seven members of Salmon Arm council have now forwarded their 2013 expenses to date. I have sent a follow-up email to Mayor Cooper and Councillors Cannon and Kentel asking once again if they are interested in doing the same.

Yesterday’s post Councillor Reimer Publicizes Itemized Expenses for 2013 was followed by an email invitation to the rest of Salmon Arm council wondering if they were interested in submitting their itemized expenses as well.

Now this is something that ideally should be done as a matter of due course using similar timelines, criteria, formatting etc. for reader-friendly consumption  … right on the city’s website.

For now though, I’ll run with the initial positive feedback that I have received so far for voluntary transparency. Councillor Harrison has forwarded his expenses information for 2013 and hopefully more will be forthcoming.

I’m posting the submissions, in the order that they are received, starting with a re-posting of Councillor Reimer’s information from yesterday along with some brief comments if any were attached

Councillor Reimer: Please find attached a summary of my 2013 Elected Official Expenses to date.

*

Councillor Harrison: I think it is a good idea to have elected officials ensure expenses are easily accessible.

*

Ken Jamieson: This is information that can, and should be easily made available.

*

Chad Eliason: Here is my report

*

Mayor Cooper: 2013 expenses will not be complete until Dec 31, 2013. As soon as they are complete and compiled in January 2014 I will post the  information on my blog and send you a link to it.

Councillor Kentel:  … my expenses for 2013 … will be together by year end

Councillor Cannon:  No response as of yet

* You can quickly get a full screen view of the  documents by clicking on this symbol fullscreen in the Scribd controls just above.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I want to emphasize that this has nothing to do with any sense of impropriety. I simply like to to be able to see what is being expensed by our politicians whether they be federal, provincial or local.

A few years back, I requested that city council introduce legislation to publish candidates’ financial disclosures for Salmon Arm elections right on the city’s web site so that anyone could readily access that information rather than having to set up an appointment, traipse down to city hall and physically peruse a folder of submissions. That was the age-old way of doing things!

It was a simple and easily-implementable idea that council put in place for the 2011 municipal election.

A standardized quarterly (plus annual) expenses itemization is another initiative that the city could easily and inexpensively undertake to further foster transparency and accountability. The line item data is already there in the system.

Hopefully more submissions (and perhaps even a council initiative) to come!

Author: Tim Lavery

Aim High Salmon Arm It matters

2 thoughts on “Salmon Arm Council Line Item Expenses for 2013 …”

  1. Congrats on getting council to post their expenses quarterly on the City of Salmon Arm website. Thanks for the material you posted. A mystery: Mayor Cooper attended a Moving Forward Workshop at Quaaout Lodge for $189.49 + 35.00 for the registration fee. Councillor Reimer charged $223.68. It was a $35.00 early bird rate, $45.00 for later registration, and with lunch included for the one day workshop. Mileage is only about 100 km there and back so why did they charge so much? and couldn’t they carpool? I figure it should be under $100 each.

    1. Good evening Dusty: My overall intent in posting council’s expenses here on Aim High was to get itemized expenses into the public realm … and then ideally nudge council to post this onto their website on a quarterly basis. A few of the councillors – including Councillor Reimer who was the first to respond initially – were supportive right off the bat. I’m anticipating that the 1st quarter of 2014 should be posted up early in April. I’m expecting that those figures are indeed itemized.

      Six of the seven council members also made public their expenses for all of 2013 here https://salmonarm.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/salmon-arm-councils-expenses-for-2013/ . This is so much more transparent than waiting until May/June to review aggregate totals posted for the previous year and printed in the city’s annual report.

      My understanding is that council members can apply for a per diem rate for attending events outside of the city boundaries. It’s possible that that may explain the aggregate amounts that you mention.

      Your questions do emphasize the benefits of itemization and standardization of reporting. IMO, expenses, mileage and per diems should all be itemized per claim. Additionally, there are some discrepancies between what seems to be reported during different time periods. I don’t see anything untoward in that. It just speaks to the need for baseline time periods and specific itemizations.

      Also, I do think that car pooling does occur but have no idea as to how often or if it could be done more often. Finally, the appropriate use of per diems is a good topic for further discussion. That’ll go into my “draft” bin for down the line.

      Transparency is important but it’s also important to recognize the countless hours that council members put in with fairly minimal remuneration. Yes their eyes were open when they ran for the job but I don’t begrudge compensation where appropriate. I mainly want to see it itemized.

      I’d urge you to contact council members directly for their explanations and thanks for your comments

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