Letters: Perks and credit card out of control

Questions are asked about the CAO's expense account

Rumours  have Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)) Evan Parliament on an extended vacation. To someone who has reviewed District of Sooke Visa expenditures, an ‘extended vacation’  seems well within the realm of possibility, given the CAO’s preference for early arrivals and late departures.

Through a Freedom of Information request to the District in 2009, I received all the information needed to reach the conclusion that credit card use was out of control, and that the CAO was leading the way. Consider this example from his Visa records: May 20, 2009,  $588.88 to Westjet for an ICMA conference in Montreal (Sept.11-17), no receipt; June 24, $1,543.55, registration for ICMA conference (Sept.13-16). Already his plane is arriving two days early, and departing a day late. But wait, the best is yet to come. He enjoys it so much he doesn’t check out of the Delta Centre-Ville  until September 20, when he uses the district’s Visa and ponies up $2,122.44 of our money.  The ICMA website states that lecture dates are the 14th and 15th, with a day on each side for travel.  Evan Parliament  checked into the hotel on September 11th and checked out on the 20th. He definitely had an ’extended vacation’ on that occasion.

While Mr. Parliament’s conference travels provide examples of creative spending, they hardly hold a candle to his ferry rides, Vancouver conferences and gas purchases.  Again, one example is sufficient to make the case for credit card use gone crazy.  On March 22, 2010, a charge of $58.50 was recorded for the ferry from Swartz Bay to an Economic Development Workshop in Vancouver. On the same day a charge of $62.85 was recorded  at a PetroCan in Peachland, against the same workshop in Vancouver. On March 23rd a charge of $58.50 for the ferry from Tsawwassen is made against the workshop, and the following day a $7.00 charge for something called ‘Impark’ is made, also against the workshop. It would not be worth questioning if it weren’t for that jaunt from Vancouver to Peachland to fill the gas tank.

District records show that taxpayers have paid enough in ferry fares for the CAO to traipse across the pond, that we should demand the next deluxe ferry to be built be christened with a bottle of Sooke Harbour Brine, and be named after our community.  Along with the ferry fares, we have generously provided enough full tanks of gas to ensure he reaches his destination. This is strange though, because when on District of Sooke business the CAO is paid mileage. Oh well, what’s another few hundred dollars.  We have also been more than generous with meals, anytime, anywhere, alone, with friends or with groups of friends.  We even treated him in a place called Blind Bay, in July, 2009, where he spent close to $300 in such establishments as Duffers Den, Friends Bayshore Marina, and the Sportsman Blind Bay Store; and all this while he was on holidays.

Both the CAO’s contract and the District Purchasing Policy require that receipts be presented before any expenses are reimbursed.  This includes those racked up on District of Sooke credit cards.

In 2009, Mr. Parliament recorded close to $2,900 in expenditures which are accompanied by the words ‘No Receipt.’  Incidentally, these include the Blind Bay excursion.

If I sound angry, it is because every attempt I made to have these matters dealt with, was stonewalled.  The mayor of the day, Janet Evans, had the same comment for each issue I raised.  She said ‘So?’

As I watch the diligent work of Mayor Milne and the Finance and Administration Committee chaired by Rick Kasper, I wonder if finally someone might pay attention.  If they do, it will have been worth the wait and the frustration.

Gail Hall

Sooke

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
UPDATE: Search suspended for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Most Read