City releases audit on Mayor's expenses

The City of Fort St. John has released a copy of the audit performed on the Mayor’s travel expenses.

The report was originally presented to council at a closed meeting on July 12, 2010 after a resolution was passed in March to audit the Mayor’s Visa and expense statements from 2009 to date.

In the report, the auditor states “when a city representative is issued a corporate credit card or procurement card, the recipient must read and sign the City’s policy statement. We were unable to obtain a sign copy of this policy by Mayor Lantz.”

According to the City Manager Dianne Hunter, due to personnel changes, the requirement for all City representatives to read and sign the City’s policy on procurement and credit cards was not administered to any city staff, not just Mayor Lantz.

The report also highlights several expense transactions were a number of meals and other incidental expenses were charged to the City credit card. In some cases the per diem available to the Mayor was also claimed. City policy allows only for a per-diem to be claimed, or meals paid at cost, but not both.

In response, the City Manager says the issue was discussed at the April 12th Regular Council meeting and it was stressed that the per diem is provided in order to cover all meals and incidentals. At the same meeting, Council also discussed that a member of Council can choose to not claim a per diem and then would not have the option to charge personal expenses to a hotel room.

On Monday Council has the option to amend the Employee Allowable Expense Policy to allow valet parking as a reimbursable expense following a visit to Whistler by Mayor Lantz. In June of 2009, Mayor Lantz attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference, where he charged a $128 in valet parking costs. The Mayor stated there was no other reasonable parking option available. According to the report, Mayor Lantz has reimbursed the City for those charges.

The spending audit also states there have been a number of times where the Mayor has not filled out the approved City Travel and Expense claim form, which is required by policy.

City Manager Dianne Hunter states to date the Mayor has reimbursed the City for all expenses that were incurred outside of the City’s policies.

As of September 3, 2010, the following has been spent by Fort St. John City Council members to attend meetings and conferences in 2010.

Mayor Lantz – $15,630.48
Councillor Ackerman – $9,401.88
Councillor Christensen – $7,555.60
Councillor Irwin – $2,916.99
Councillor Davies – $562.48
Councillor Evans – $387.92
Councillor Bolin – $0

TOTAL – $36,867.05

For a copy of the full report, download the attached pdf file.

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