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

No evacuations in Sooke Region after tsunami warning

Biggest issue? People panicking prematurely, fire chief says

Sirens don’t sing in tsunami warning for Esquimalt

Officials pleased with process, say sirens would have been activated had threat escalated.

UPDATE: Tsunami warning ended for Greater Victoria

Homes in Colwood near Esquimalt Lagoon were evacuated after tsunami warning for coastal areas of B.C. after 7.9 earthquake off Alaskan coast

Greater Victoria under another wind warning this morning

Strong southeast winds will reach speeds of up to 80 km/h in Greater Victoria

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

WATCH: Greater Victoria residents gather at higher ground during tsunami warning

Ocean Boulevard and the Esquimalt Lagoon reopened shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday

Bell Canada alerts customers who may be affected by latest data breach

Federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner said it had been notified

‘The tsunami alarm failed my household’: North Coast residents concerned over sirens, alerts

People living in northern communities share how they learned about Tuesday’s tsunami warning

Snowboarder dies at Vancouver Island ski resort

Death at Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Man faces 48 charges in string of random Toronto shootings

The string of unprovoked shootings began Jan.9, say police

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

Guillermo del Toro film about merman romance earns 13 nominations

Canada, TPP agrees to revised deal without the United States

Canada and the remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Rogers Media cuts ties with Vice Canada

Rogers Media and Vice Canada are ending their three-year-old partnership, pulling Viceland TV channel off the air

Most Read