Conference expenditures questioned as part of council remuneration report

 

 

Councillor Carolyn Davies

Councillor Carolyn Davies

By Ron Giofu

 

The report outlining council remuneration is out with one councillor questioning another councillor over council and per diem expenditures.

Councillor Diane Pouget wondered why the council per diem and conference expenditures of Councillor Carolyn Davies totalled over $5,000 when others on council are less than $1,500. Pouget said the town has a bylaw which states “very clearly” how much can be spent with Davies’ figure far exceeding the total.

“How is it Councillor Davies comes in with expenses of over $5,000?” Pouget questioned at the March 24 town council meeting. “How does she rack up $5,000? How could everyone else come in with less than $1,500 and she came in with $5,000?”

Davies didn’t reply directly to Pouget during the meeting, but stated during an interview Saturday that she had paid the difference back to the town. Davies said she attended additional conferences and it was simpler for deputy clerk Paula Parker book them on her behalf with Davies paying for them afterword. Davies added she has asked that future reports have an accounts receivable and accounts payable component to reflect such repayments.

“I’m not quite sure why (Pouget) had a need to point that out,” said Davies. “If she had come to me and said ‘that’s a little high,’ I would have explained it to her. When you assume, you can lead down the wrong path. That’s the style of confrontation Diane seems to like, God bless her.”

Davies said she chose not to respond during the meeting because her style “is not to engage. I was not going to get into a discussion about it.”

Going to conferences to get further information and ideas is something Davies believed is in the best interests of the town as she believes as a councillor, she has the obligation to be knowledgeable about all topics. She said they learn best practises at conferences and those conferences help guide municipal officials on how to govern.

The treasurer’s report for the year ending Dec. 31, 2013 showed Mayor Wayne Hurst’s total expenses being $31,331.34 with $28,872.68 being his salary. The rest is comprised of his honorarium and per diem of being mayor ($1,425) as well as being on the police services board $1,200), his communication allowance ($1,118.16) and mileage ($715.50).

Pouget’s overall figure was listed at $23,037.34 with her salary being $15,936.12. That salary was the same as the other six councillors. Her honorarium and per diem was $525 and her communication allowance was $1,472.13. Her total figure also included a $5,104.09 amount for legal expenses.

Councillor Bart DiPasquale had an overall total of $21,873.27 including his salary, his honorarium and per diem of $1,325, his communication allowance of $1,326.80, legal expenses of $3,092.35, a mileage total of $193 and a $200 figure listed for receptions.

Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland’s over total was $21,330.66 with his salary being $18,413.40. His council per diem was $1,425 for the year with Sutherland having a $1,492 communication allowance. His total also saw $229.25 listed as his mileage expense and $350.30 allocated for receptions.

Davies’ figure was $20,976 with her salary being added to $2,225 in council per diem and a $2,742.88 total for conferences. Her mileage was listed as $72 and had $50.85 listed as her expenses for receptions.

Councillor Bob Pillon’s overall total for 2013 was $19,061.12. In addition to his salary as councillor, Pillon had an honorarium and per diem of $1,425 and a communication allowance of $1,500. His conference figure was $200.

Councillor John Sutton’s figure for 2013 was $18,961 with his salary being added to his honorarium and per diem of $1,425 for his role as councillor and $1,400 for his role on the police services board. Sutton’s mileage figure was listed as $200.

Police services board member Pauline Gemmel also had a $1,400 figure listed as her honorarium and per diem while colleagues Patricia Simone and Frank Cleminson having a $1,200 honorarium and per diem of $1,200 for 2013.

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