Council moves to investigate Magliocca’s expenses since 2017

A new notice of motion expands the scope of a previous proposal to look into “discrepancies” in the Ward 2 councillor’s expenses from 2019.

Calgary city councillor Joe Magliocca looks towards the gallery during a council session on Monday April 8, 2019. Gavin Young/Postmedia Gavin Young / Postmedia

City council is moving to investigate all of Coun. Joe Magliocca’s expenses dating back to the last municipal election in 2017.

A new notice of motion, signed by Mayor Naheed Nenshi and every city councillor except Magliocca, expands the scope of a proposal last week from Coun. Jyoti Gondek. Her motion also asked for a forensic investigation into Magliocca’s expenses, but it was limited to 2019.

A specialist, overseen by the city auditor’s office, would conduct the investigation, and it would be funded through Calgary’s fiscal stability reserve, often known as the “rainy-day fund.”

The move comes after Postmedia obtained receipts through a freedom of information request that showed Magliocca expensed two to three times as much as his council colleagues at the 2019 Federation of Municipalities conference, including at least $1,800 in meals and drinks for “hosting costs.” Ten people have since told Postmedia or confirmed through spokespeople that despite being listed on Magliocca’s receipts, they did not dine with him at the Quebec City conference.

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Magliocca publicly apologized at the beginning of the month and said he had repaid about $2,100 of his FCM costs. But he hasn’t spoken out about the issue since the city’s integrity commissioner recused himself from investigating a complaint about the councillor’s expenses over a lunch Magliocca expensed with him last summer.

In light of the fact that a freedom of information request was needed to make the FCM expenses public, council is also asking for changes to the way they disclose their spending.

The motion asks the city’s chief financial officer “to immediately determine and execute” a way to publicly disclose those expenses, going back to the start of the current council term.

Magliocca’s name was on Gondek’s previous motion, but it isn’t on the new proposal. At a special meeting Wednesday, council talked about how including his name could pose a possible conflict.

The motion also asks the city auditor to find a way to “verify expenses” for all ward council offices and the mayor’s office in a bid to “objectively and cost-effectively demonstrate adherence to expense policies.”

The city manager will also be asked to look for a “better governance model” than city council’s current approach to expenses, which sees councillors sign off on fellow councillors’ expenses.

More to come…

masmith@postmedia.com

Twitter: @meksmith

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