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Council expenses eyed

<p>Espresso machines, expensive art and furniture, and an Easter Bunny costume. Not necessarily the sorts of things you’d expect to see Toronto city councillors paying for out of their yearly $53,100 expense accounts.</p><p></p>

Councillors calling for random audits for ‘wanton spending’


Espresso machines, expensive art and furniture, and an Easter Bunny costume.



Not necessarily the sorts of things you’d expect to see Toronto city councillors paying for out of their yearly $53,100 expense accounts.



In a bid to stamp out "wanton spending" and a "lack of controls" around expense budgets, two councillors, Rob Ford and Doug Holyday, are calling for audits of all councillors’ expenses.



Holyday wants random quarterly audits — four councillors per audit — and guidelines governing what are acceptable office expenditures.



Ford — in hot water for handing in no receipts at all, saying he doesn’t want taxpayers covering his expenses — wants everyone audited, from 2006 to the present.



Both requests have been forwarded to the city’s auditor general and integrity commissioner.



Integrity commissioner Dave Mullan says the time may have come to address the "tremendous variations" in what councillors believe are appropriate uses of their office expense accounts.



Councillor Adam Vaughan suggests the "honour system" is problematic, and councillors Karen Stintz and Brian Ashton say they would support removing the right of councillors to expense alcohol purchased at business lunches or dinners, though not all councillors submit claims for booze.




















‘kept to a minimum’




  • City policy states expenses for business meetings between councillors and staff should be "kept to a minimum." Supporting documentation must include original receipts, reasons for the meeting, who was present, and the councillor’s signature.


 
 
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