First, some good news overall in terms of local government transparency.
#1 – Councillor Ken Jamieson is slated to table the following motion (from this week’s online city agenda):
Moved: Councillor Jamieson
THAT: staff be directed to summarize individual Council expenses, each quarter, and include them on the city website.
This is a good initiative that is simple to implement and one that many local governments have in place. I’ll just note that I’ve been calling for this for a number of years now.
I also want to emphasize that calling for this has nothing to do with any implied sense of impropriety. I simply like to to be able to easily review what is being expensed by our politicians whether they be federal, provincial or local.
#2 – Last evening, I received an email from the mayor letting me know that she has already posted her 2013 expenses as of January 23rd on her blog on the city website here.
I had a citizen inquire about my expenses for the year 2013 so I have decided to post them here for anyone who is interested.
Thanks for that Mayor Cooper.
Both the actual posting and a follow-up notification is helpful, especially when a website isn’t widely followed. The adoption of Councillor Jamieson’s motion should solve a few things. The expenses can be posted much earlier than the current approach of 5-6 months after the year end; the time frame for the expenses is standardized and all council members’ expenses are in one spot quarterly.
Given the good news above, I won’t spend a lot of time on the past.
Expenses are a collated line item that can easily be reported by running a quick query and forwarding that information as an attachment in an email.
The condensed version of my issue with the mayor’s responses:
– October 28 2013: The initial request for 2013 expense updates was triggered by Councillor Reimer sending in her expenses to date.
– A subsequent email by me to the whole of council requesting that they do the same was followed by immediate responses from Councillors Harrison, Jamieson and Eliason. See the summary of those here.
– Mayor Cooper, two weeks later after a second reminder email, indicated that she would post her complete 2013 expenses on her blog in the new year – as she has now done.
– No responses from Councillors Cannon or Kentel
– Feb 3 2014: Request for full 2013 expenses summary sent to council. Mayor Cooper last evening indicated that she had posted hers up on her blog. Councillors Jamieson, Harrison and Reimer have sent me their full 2013 expenses. No responses yet from Councillors Eliason, Cannon or Kentel but some of them have been attending a recent conference. I’ll post up all of those received summaries next week. Thanks!
I want to be fair to Mayor Cooper. She did follow through by posting the requested information to her blog as she indicated – even before my email request. I missed that information though as her city blog is not that high on my daily web radar nor I suspect yours. A quick email from her at the time given that I had been requesting this – hey citizen, I have responded to your request – the info. is available here – could have closed that loop I feel.
Perhaps that’s a quibble on my part. Perhaps it’s a reflection of Mayor Nancy Cooper’s operational style. Or perhaps some of both!
Here are the links to previous posts in the Mayor Nancy Cooper and I Have a Thing Going On Apparently series.