Letters: Take ownership of expenses

Coun. Cheryl Ashlie askedthat council review its policy, with the goal of tightening the language.

Editor, The News:

Re: Captain of ship had no problem (Letters, Feb. 5); Hey, mayor (Letters, Feb. 5).

In response to the letters from Grant Baker and Wilf McIntyre, regarding my motion to review our council expense policy, I would like to offer some clarification.

A citizen suggested that council post our expenses online, which, rightly, was done.

The first of such was included in a recent council package, along with our policy, so council could see what was being posted.

Typically, I would not review my colleagues’ expenses. However, since the information was in my council package, I looked at the report and noted some practices that I felt would not be acceptable to the public. So I asked that we review our policy, with the goal of tightening the language.

Now Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Baker can blame the mayor, infer I have an ulterior motive and provide misinformation that is not worth challenging. That’s politics.

However, I prefer to think that the public supports council taking ownership of reviewing our policy, especially in light of the fact that the language allows for an expense to be claimed that I believe was beyond the intent of the policy.

This is a flaw of the policy that allowed someone to do this, not an oversight by the mayor.

In regards to the policy allowing a total of $15,000 for the term, this is correct. And those who have gone over the $5,000 allotted for each of the years, thus far, do have time to slow down their spending. This can easily be managed by opting out of overnight stays at conferences and selecting the free educational opportunities that are often afforded us.

However, this will not be known until after the next election, as the final tally does not come in until the end of the year.

Until then, asking to have a discussion in regards to the intent of the policy and whether the language supports good practice, didn’t strike me as a bad thing.

Coun. Cheryl Ashlie

Maple Ridge