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Motion on mayor’s expenses unclear

The politically sensitive issue of whether Vaughan Mayor Linda Jacksonmust return $13,995 in taxpayer money she spent on meals and otherexpenses not properly backed up by receipts was supposed to have beensettled this week.

The politically sensitive issue of whether Vaughan Mayor Linda Jackson must return $13,995 in taxpayer money she spent on meals and other expenses not properly backed up by receipts was supposed to have been settled this week.

But it remains as muddy as ever.

Vaughan’s audit committee voted to accept an external auditor’s report that uncovered the controversial $13,995 in charges as well as $3,000 in cellphone claims that had no documentation at all.

Chair Gino Rosati and fellow councillor Sandra Yeung Racco said they understood that the motion the committee approved Monday to “resolve outstanding issues” with Jackson, meant she would have to repay any amounts that breached existing policies “unless receipts are provided.”

But senior city staff said yesterday the motion only required Jackson to repay the $3,000 in cellphone charges, which Jackson couldn’t document.

The bigger amount consists of $7,307 in claims with no receipts, and $6,688 in claims that had a transaction slip but no details of what was purchased.

“If the motion is not clear, it will be addressed at council,” said Rosati.

Other councillors present at the meeting did not return calls to clarify how they had voted.

The controversy dates back to an Ernst & Young audit released a year ago that identified some controversial spending habits on Jackson’s part, including meals with her assistant and the use of her corporate Amex card for personal charges that she was slow to repay.

At the time, councillors furious at Jackson criticized the auditor for not expressly stating what city policies the mayor had breached, something that was later identified in a supplemental report.