June 25, 2019

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Spending to the max at city hall

All but one councillor used up ward allowance

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/5/2010 (3337 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Charleswood Coun. Bill Clement spent only 54 per cent of his ward allowance in 2009, allowing the late politician to retain the title of Winnipeg's thriftiest politician.

Clement, who succumbed to lymphatic cancer on Monday at the age of 61, spent only $38,684 in 2009 on ward and office expenses such as postage, printing, office furniture and telephones, according to the latest spending report prepared by the city clerk's office.

All 14 other city councillors came close to their $72,000 spending limit. Clement was able to return more than $33,000 to city coffers because he did not hire an executive assistant and answered his own phone calls and emails. He routinely spent less than his colleagues during his 27 years on council.

"I think it's safe to say there will never be another councillor like him," St. Vital Coun. Gord Steeves said as council's executive policy committee honoured him on Wednesday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/5/2010 (3337 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Charleswood Coun. Bill Clement spent only 54 per cent of his ward allowance in 2009, allowing the late politician to retain the title of Winnipeg's thriftiest politician.

Clement, who succumbed to lymphatic cancer on Monday at the age of 61, spent only $38,684 in 2009 on ward and office expenses such as postage, printing, office furniture and telephones, according to the latest spending report prepared by the city clerk's office.

Colin Craig: post expenses online

WAYNE.GLOWACKI@FREEPRESS.MB.CA

Colin Craig: post expenses online

All 14 other city councillors came close to their $72,000 spending limit. Clement was able to return more than $33,000 to city coffers because he did not hire an executive assistant and answered his own phone calls and emails. He routinely spent less than his colleagues during his 27 years on council.

"I think it's safe to say there will never be another councillor like him," St. Vital Coun. Gord Steeves said as council's executive policy committee honoured him on Wednesday.

Most councillors spent the majority of their allowances on executive assistants last year. The highest-paid assistant in 2009 was Chris Hurley, who earned $58,710 as Mynarksi Coun. Harry Lazarenko's right-hand man.

Several councillors also spent considerable sums on ward activities, which include discretionary purchases of social tickets, silent-auction prizes or equipment for charitable groups.

Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt led the spending in this category last year by devoting $33,783 of his allowance to ward activities, followed by Clement ($24,327) and Daniel McIntyre Coun. Harvey Smith ($21,315).

Rookie River Heights Coun. John Orlikow racked up the biggest advertising tab, spending $10,247 to get his name out. North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty spent the most on his car ($8,726), Fort Rouge Coun. Jenny Gerbasi spent the most on city-related travel ($1,210) and Wyatt spent the most on business meetings ($4,422).

In a separate report, Mayor Sam Katz disclosed his office spent $902,000 on salaries, benefits, car allowances, printing, postage, telephones and other office expenses in 2009.

For the past 15 months, the Free Press and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation have been calling on the mayor and councillors to post details of their expenses online. Right now, detailed expenses are only obtainable by filing a Freedom of Information request.

In a report to council last year, City auditor Brian Whiteside recommended posting all expenses online in an effort to improve transparency. But several city council committees have stymied this effort.

"It's disappointing. You shouldn't have to go to Freedom of Information legislation to make a request," said Colin Craig, Manitoba director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Craig also called on mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis to unveil the details of $2 million in spending by her office when she was the NDP MP for Winnipeg North.

Wasylycia-Leis said she would be happy to comply. "That actually sounds a little low," she said on Wednesday, noting her annual expenses for staff, rent, electricity, public meetings, mailings and travel could have approached $250,000 a year.

Craig said he did not mean to single out the mayoral candidate and merely wants all members of Parliament to disclose details of their spending.

 

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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