October to February expenses to date

I’m publishing my expense claims to date and will continue to update this list as new ones are submitted.

I am doing this for two reasons.

One is that last week the council office informed Councillors that they were processing a FOI request for our expenses. Probably this is a request from the media and I applaud the reporter who is working on keeping us honest, but it got me thinking – why not just throw this out there anyway? Why wait for a story, especially if there is no story?

The second was a conversation on twitter a couple days ago. I try to walk to work and take the bus. I buy my own bus pass, obviously. Sometimes you have back to back meetings and I take cabs and expense that, as per HRM (and most workplace’s) policy. Sometimes if I have 4-5 meetings in a row or if I have to go to HRM offices at Eric Spicer in Woodside or Melor Ave in Burnside I take one of the HRM Smartcars.

It became clear on twitter that if people don’t know the dollar amounts it is easy for them to imagine the worst! So far my expenses are averaging around $80 a month.  We don’t have expenses for meals, and that kind of stuff, unless we are travelling to a conference type of thing.

I am also extraordinarily lucky that City Hall is in my district.  I work there every day, and I try and schedule most of my meetings there, to cut travel cost but more importantly, time.  My expense claims can be low because I am one of the few councillors who can walk to work!  The other councillors can and should and do have higher travel costs – I am no paragon of virtue, I am just lucky.

I’ve also posted the expense claim for my trip to the Ontario Library Association Conference at the end of January, and I acknowledge that for OHS reasons HRM purchased a pair of steel toe/shank CSA green shoes for visiting the many work sites in my district, about $80.00. I gave the receipt in months ago and didn’t make a copy, but I have asked staff to dig it up and I will post it when I have it.

I could drive a car and claim milage but we own one car which my wife drives to work, and I really really don’t want to buy a second.

Really, nine months of the year I bike to work and if you are okay with your councillor showing up for a meeting a little sweaty and possibly out of breath, that is what you get from March to early December!

Submitted to date:

  • Travel Nov-Dec 12   $28.47
  • Travel Jan 13 $77.97
  • Travel Feb 13 $145.09
  • Steel toe shoes (approx) $80.00
  • OLA Conference $400.05
  • TOTAL TO DATE $731.58, or $331.53 without the conference.

Expenses can be found here.

  • Thanks for sharing this! Having the detailed data really helps understand how things work. I have a question though. If you had a car, you could claim milage, but taking the bus, you have to pay for your own bus pass? It doesn’t seem right.

    • Great point! There was actually considerable discussion about it in the office. I probably could expense it. The Halifax Charter says councillors get paid to go to council, and I use the pass sometimes for meetings – but I also use it to get to work on normal days, and Revenue Canada absolutely says that you cannot claim milage to get to your place of work if you work in a normal office. AND I write off half the pass against my taxes every year, so all things considered I decided to pay for it myself. It seemed like the right thing to do!

  • Trevor Parsons

    Good on you, Waye. You are actually accomplishing a great deal by doing this: First, of course, being transparent about your expenses will put pressure on other councillors to do the same. Secondly, you may put pressure on some of your colleagues to actually create a place to post their expenses that is accessable. I’d love to see my councellor set up a FB page or her own web site or a twitter account… we’ll see.

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