February 28th, 2014
TORONTO – Councillors travelling on the taxpayers’ dime could soon have to prove they didn’t skip out to see the sights.
Councillor Josh Matlow got the audit committee to unanimously agree Friday to demand councillors who go to an out-of-province conference provide proof of attendance.
If approved by council, jet-setting councillors would have to provide a report to the clerk’s office when they get back on the specific meetings and conferences they attended with “confirmation as to whether they remained for each session.”
The report would then be posted on the city’s website alongside travel expenses and sent to the relevant council committees.
Matlow said it is “completely reasonable” to request a report from councillors who are using tax dollars to go on a professional development trip.
The report will ensure that “they indeed go to the meetings that they’re meant to go to,” he argued.
“There have been too many stories of councillors going on trips and then using it as an opportunity to go see another city,” Matlow said. “If they are going for professional development then they better darn well be at the meeting that they said they were going to be at.
“You should not be going on one of those trips unless you’re going to work. If you want to sightsee, go on your own dime.”
Councillor John Parker said he was happy to support Matlow’s motion but argued councillors should already be showing up at conferences.
“We’re here to behave like grown-ups and we’re here to make grown-up decisions in the course of those duties and that should include attendance at conferences, at courses, travel to places where we can learn things that are useful to serving the function that we are here to serve,” he said. “If we all did that then when the questions are asked,the answers that come back wouldn’t embarrass anyone.”
The issue goes to council in April.
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