Council goes behind closed doors to discuss investigation into Magliocca’s expenses

Coun. Magliocca wasn’t present at the special meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Calgary city councillors stand before a special meeting of council on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. Council met briefly before moving to an in camera meeting to discuss a possible forensic audit of Councillor Joe Magliocca’s expenses. Gavin Young / Postmedia

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he expects city council to make a decision Wednesday about how to proceed with an investigation into Coun. Joe Magliocca’s expenses.

The mayor called a special meeting of council to “expedite” a conversation about what to do after the city’s integrity commissioner recused himself from looking into a complaint about Magliocca’s expenses at the 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference. Coun. Jyoti Gondek is proposing that a specialist, overseen by the city auditor, investigate all the Ward 2 expenses from 2019.

Council went behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon to hear advice from the city solicitor, city manager, ethics advisor and integrity commissioner. Magliocca wasn’t at the meeting and while several councillors were calling in to the meeting, the Ward 2 councillor wasn’t listed among them.

Councillors who were at city hall weren’t allowed to bring their phones in to the private meeting.

“We’re going to be dealing with a couple of very tough conversations today,” Nenshi said before council started the closed session. “But we were elected to deal with those tough conversations.”

Magliocca publicly apologized for “errors” in his FCM expenses at the beginning of February, but he hasn’t addressed recent criticism of his expenses. That includes expensing a $163 meal with the integrity commissioner that the commissioner called a “social lunch” that shouldn’t have been billed to taxpayers.

Since Magliocca’s public statement, which included a pledge to pay back about $2,100 in hosting costs from FCM last year, Postmedia has found 10 cases of elected officials and business representatives listed on the councillor’s receipts who say they didn’t sit down with him.

The mayor added that there’s “no clear roadmap” for what happens after an integrity commissioner recuses themselves, and council needs to speak with current watchdog Sal LoVecchio about what led to his decision last week.

If council votes on a way forward Wednesday, it will happen in public.

More to come…

Twitter: @meksmith