The City of Quesnel will become the second municipality in B.C. to post travel expense reports online.
Council approved posting not only council’s travel expenses, but senior administration’s expenses as well, effective June 1. The reports will be included on a regular Council meeting agenda once a month for a six-month trial basis, after which time the practice will be reviewed. To the city’s knowledge, only the City of Vancouver has a similar procedure in B.C. Coun. Sushil Thapar spoke to the motion.
“I’m the driving force to put this online,” he said, but added he doesn’t like the process or how it’s proceeding.
“I’m opposed to the process and how we’re watering down the procedure,” he said.
Thapar also raised accusations regarding the accuracy of the minutes leading up to the motion, stating that Coun. Coralee Oakes and Laurey-Anne Roodenburg were in favour of the second motion from the previous committee of the whole (COW) and not opposed as stated in the minutes.
Oakes defended her previous position, saying her opposition wasn’t to posting financials online but rather to allow city staff more time.
“We all want to be transparent. We all want to get this out. We want our expenses to be viewed by the public – and that has been achieved,” Oakes said.
Roodenburg had a similar position.
“I had the same concerns around cost effectiveness and staff time,” she said.
Mayor Mary Sjostrom admonished Thapar.
“Those are some pretty strong accusations you are making that staff are making changes,” she said.
“They [the minutes] have not been changed.”
Thapar again stated that during that COW meeting, council members had been unanimous in their support of the motion, but now it has been added there were two members opposed.
“We’ve achieved it – let it go,” Oakes said.
“It’s time to get on with governing the community of Quesnel.”
Thapar replied if the information is completed in the first place, he wouldn’t need to be digging and wasting his time.
“I’ll let it go when it’s all clear,” he said.
Sjostrom called for order.
“The bottom line is that we have the end results,” she said.