I am concerned that Cornwall’s Mayor and city councillors are misusing the public relations portion of their expense accounts.
The statement of expenses for Cornwall City Council for 2009 reveals that the bulk of the $35,000 public relations portion was spent by the Mayor and city councillors on donations to local charities and community organizations.
Taxpayer dollars were spent on a variety of events such as fundraising golf tournaments, concerts, dinners, dances, and even on political party fundraisers. The five donations given to political party fundraisers are highly questionable because municipalities are not permitted to donate to political parties and political party riding associations.
At the present time, there are no rules governing how the Mayor and city councillors use the public relations portion of their expense accounts. I believe that Cornwall City Council should devise some rules for the public relations portion of their expense accounts as they do for travel, conferences, workshops, and seminars.
A good place to start would be to put the public relations budget under Council as a Whole and eliminate the personal public relations expense budgets of council members. Council members’ expenses should be related to travel, conferences, workshops, and seminars that are related to city business not to doling out donations to select community organizations.
The lack of a policy regarding the spending of taxpayers’ dollars by council members for public relations is a cause for concern. It should be addressed promptly by city council.
Brian Lynch, Cornwall, ON.
(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)
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