Council approves Notice of Motion to strengthen transparency
Council decides on a process to address known discrepancies, review governance and strengthen oversight of business expenses.
On February 24, 2020, Calgary City Council approved a Notice of Motion which included the recommendations shared below. This decision outlined specific responsibilities for the City Auditor to address discrepancies found in Ward 2 expenses, and to review the process for all Councillors when submitting expenses incurred while fulfilling their role. Some information on next steps have been provided on this page.
- That Council direct the City Auditor to immediately conduct a forensic investigation into the Ward 2 City Councillor expenses (including those incurred at 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Meeting in Quebec City) from the beginning of his current term in office. The investigation will be conducted by a specialist under the direct oversight of the City Auditor’s Office to ensure independence, objectivity and an unbiased result. Recommendations are to be presented to Council as soon as possible.
- That the City Manager’s Office work with the City Auditor, and other appropriate parties, to determine and execute the best way to verify expenses for all ward council offices and the Mayor’s Office budgets for the present Council term. This will help identify whether individual or systemic issues exist that require further attention.
- That the Chief Financial Officer immediately determine and execute the best way to make all centrally disclosed expenses for members of Council and Administration (such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting or Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA)) publicly accessible. The term would be from the beginning of Council’s current term to present.
- That the City Manager should work with the City Auditor and other appropriate parties to determine a better governance model for Council oversight. This would either enhance and/or replace some of the responsibilities presently residing with the Coordinating Committee of the Councillors Office (CCCO) to eliminate conflicts of interest for members of Council and ensure that staff within the Office of the Councillors are able to act independently of Council. Recommendations are to be presented to Council as soon as possible.
The vote was unanimous at 14-0. Councillor Magliocca recused himself from the vote as it was a perceived conflict of interest.
It is important to be clear on the process. The roles of the City Auditor and the Integrity Commissioner are different. Our City Auditor, Katharine Palmer, will designate resources through her office to deliver three different outputs stemming from this motion.
- First, a forensic audit of expenses and any expense related complaints made to the Integrity Commissioner related to Ward 2 will be conducted.
- Second, a risk-based audit will be conducted on the discretionary expenses of all members of Council and The Mayor.
- Lastly, key policy recommendations will be made in conjunction with City Manager to address gaps and improve the overall expense reporting process to enhance public trust.
All of the work from the City Auditor’s Office on this matter will be made public and will be reported back to Council.
It is important to note the forensic investigation conducted under the oversight of the City Auditor does not remove the authority or responsibility of the Integrity Commissioner. The City Auditor’s role is to ensure an independent and objective forensic investigation and audit is completed. Our Integrity Commissioner, Sal LoVecchio, will continue to support inquiries and matters regarding the Councillors’ Office outside of those that may have been raised specific to Ward 2 expenses.
Moving forward, Council’s focus will be on allowing the City Auditor’s work to be conducted. Once complete, it can make decisions based on her report and recommendations.