Accounts Payable On Agenda: A Matter of Trust

Commentary by Linda Saxon

Should the focus be trust for administration or the public trust?

A long-standing practice, by a motion carried over a decade ago when transparency was the focus, was not reconsidered yet it will be reinstated as a pilot for the next ten months.

Councillor Pouget campaigned ‘to regain the loss of trust by many of our taxpayers.’ Following her motion to reinstate accounts payable on public agendas, council and administration discussed it for about fifteen minutes at the December 5 council meeting.

CAO Critchley mentioned a $1000. monthly cost to render documents accessible, noted other local municipalities no longer do this, there may be privacy concerns, and council approves a budget and it is administration’s professional responsibility to spend within that budget. The treasurer commented on KPMG findings after Councillor Pouget mentioned the report.

I rarely agree with Councillor McArthur, but I was pleasantly surprised that he supported the cost for reasons of accountability and transparency and accessibility. Councillor Allaire supported it for transparency reasons and Councillor Courtney also spoke of public trust and transparency and accountability.

Deputy Mayor Gibb dissented and spoke against the motion, using the royal ‘we.’ He thought we have a level of trust or we ought to have a level of trust for the administration we have. If we don’t have that level of trust, then we need to have a different conversation. He was not going to support spending what’s been told almost $1,000 a month to see cheques that have gone through when we approve a budget and administration is legally bound to follow that budget. He was the only one In a recorded vote to oppose.

Council represents the public, ensures the accountability and transparency of operations, and is to maintain the financial integrity of the municipality. Administration implements council’s decisions and undertakes research and provides advice. Read the full Municipal Act, 2001, or just these sections: 224, role of council, 227, role of administration and 229, discretionary CAO.

Given all the unbudgeted items that have been approved, this is money well spent if it helps to restore public trust and fulfills the obligation to represent the public interest.

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  1. Pingback: CAO Critchley Answers Questions About Accounts Payable On Agenda | the burg watch

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