Travel expenses debated

Two issues that raised some directors’ ire at the CSRD meeting in July were back on the table.

  • Sep. 26, 2014 7:00 a.m.

BARB BROUWER

Black Press

Two issues that raised some directors’ ire at the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board meeting in July were back on the table.

At the recent board meeting, Salmon Arm director Debbie Cannon asked the board to limit directors’ trips to annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities conventions and that the expenses of all directors be posted online every three months.

“I thought this board should really only send two directors to FCM,” Cannon said, noting that with the move to four-year terms, each director would have the opportunity to go to the federal convention once in their term.

The notion of restricting attendance didn’t sit  well with all rural directors.

Rhona Martin, rural Sicamous director, pointed out that the money to pay the directors’  way to FCM conventions, which are held in different locations across the country, comes out of an electoral area directors’ fund and not CSRD administration funds.

“Unlike the municipalities, we are not all representing the same areas. We all have our own issues,” she said.

A visibly annoyed Rene Talbot, Falkland director, says there is value in attending the conventions.

“Rural areas across Canada need support and it is good to get it at the conference,” he said, pointing to gas tax funds that are allocated to electoral areas and the Canada Building Fund.

“I appreciate it is election time and some people want to make it an election issue, I guess. I think most directors are very well aware of how to spend; they don’t need other people to tell them they are not spending wisely.”

But Cannon defended her position, noting she has gone to FCM twice during her time on Salmon Arm council – eight years ago, and again this year, when it was held in Niagara Falls, Ont..

“I talked to a lot of people and all of the ones I talked to had some kind of mechanism that everyone gets to go once a term,” she said, adding that she is well aware of where the funding comes from.

A motion to restrict attendance to once a term never got off the ground, but a motion to defer the matter until budget talks was adopted, with Cannon opposed.

Directors also agreed unanimously to have their quarterly expenses posted online.