Letter to the Editor – Brian Lynch not Happy with Mayor’s Expenses – Cornwall Ontario – June 18, 2010

Dear Editor:

I am surprised that after the controversy earlier this year over how the members of Cornwall city council were misusing their personal expense accounts on donations to local charities and community organizations , fundraising golf tournaments, concerts, dinners, dances, galas, and on political party fundraisers, Mayor Bob Kilger has continued to have the City of Cornwall pay for him to attend the Liberal Annual Trillium Dinner on April 8, a fundraiser for the SDSG Provincial Liberal Association.  This is a highly questionable practice because municipalities are not permitted to make donations to political parties and political party riding associations.

During the past three years, the City of Cornwall has paid ten times for Mayor Kilger and councillors Rivette, Thibault, and Gardiner to attend political party fundraisers for the SDSG federal and provincial Liberal riding associations.  In addition, the City of Cornwall has also paid for Mayor Kilger to attend the Premier McGuinty Trillium Dinner on November 15, 2007, a fundraiser for the Ontario Liberal Party.

I don’t mind people attending political party fundraisers but they should be paying out of their own pocket and not have city taxpayers pay for them to attend.  This is highly irregular and is a misuse of taxpayers’ dollars.

The controversial council members’ personal expense accounts which have no rules should be eliminated.  They are not necessary because there is already a separate budget of $30,000 for council as a whole including the Mayor for travel, conferences, workshops, and seminars related to city business.  There is also a separate public relations budget of $10,000 for council as a whole including the Mayor.  It should also be noted that council members’ remuneration is 1/3 tax free to defray out of pocket expenses for council members in the performance of their duties.

Some council members are now ready to give up their personal expense accounts.  Unfortunately, they want to add it to their pay.  This would result in a 17.4% pay increase, an excessive amount in this period of fiscal restraint.  Any future pay increase for city council members should be based on the Consumer Price Index from the previous year.

Yours truly,

Brian Lynch, Cornwall Ontario

(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.)

14 Responses to "Letter to the Editor – Brian Lynch not Happy with Mayor’s Expenses – Cornwall Ontario – June 18, 2010"

  1. Grimalot   June 18, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Hear Hear!

    No 38% pay increase.

    No spending taxpayer money on charities, political fundraisers, etc!

    We the people of the city of Cornwall are watching all you councilors. Don’t forget that!

    Some of you should have come out of the woodwork long ago if you had concerns.

    I think a lot of this old boys club in council is slowly going to disappear this election, and its about time!

  2. Jason Setnyk   June 18, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    I promise if elected to a) never mis-use the personal expense account and b) to promote accountability. I believe in transparency, it’s key to our democracy. Thank you Brian Lynch for writing this informative editorial.

    -Jason Setnyk

  3. willie191   June 18, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    Good job Brian. It’s nice to be informed by a person who knows the rules.

  4. Cornwall Harry   June 18, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    Brian you are a saint. Next election the first ones to go should be those names we read above!

  5. Rodney Vander Veer   June 18, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    I don’t know who I am voting for, but I know three names I won’t be voting for: Gardiner, Rivette, and Thibault. This isn’t the only reason why, but it is a big one.

  6. smee   June 18, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    Jees Jason go gargle.

    If you only pay tuppence for a mayor you only get the dingalings we have.

    Make it a full time job with higher pay and you will get better service. Eliminate 4 coubcillors as well

  7. Tammy A. Hart says:   June 19, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    I agree, THERE IS NO WAY PUBLIC FUNDS SHOULD SUPPORT ANY PARTICULAR PARTY.
    Thanks for that Brian, its time we made politicians accountable. A politician is only as good as its people!

  8. Tammy A. Hart says:   June 19, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    I just attended the Noble Villeneuve Golf tournament, and that came out of my own pocket. THAT’S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE. Too many politicians have this sense of entitlement. Its obvious they’ve been in politics too long. People need to pay attention and make government accountable.

  9. smee   June 19, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    Brian,
    What can you do about it that you did not do when you were Mayor?

  10. smee   June 19, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    Brian
    Could we charge Mayor Bob of mis-appropriation of funds? It sounds like a similar scenario faced by the student council at the college a few years back.
    I think the result was to pay all monies back in a certain time period or be subject to suspension

  11. Eric   June 19, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    Public funds are being used all around us every day, and we do not even know Tammy. Just found out all Canadian Taxpayers contribute 10 million a year to help the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, plus museums I guess. All of Ontario pays for the GO Train in Toronto as well. Those charitable donations we make, the money we get back is from Taxpayers, or reduces your tax payable.

    With that said, has an accountant looked at returns from charitable donations from the expense account to see who gets the money back? I would imagine it is all legal, but just asking!

  12. admin   June 19, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    It’s a very valid question Eric. We’re currently investigating two charities as part of a story we’re working on. What I’m seeing makes me shake my head and the weirdness of it all is if I published it I’d most likely get sued.

    Some Charities are molesting taxpayers for huge dollars, and some of them are in our own backyard.

  13. willie191   June 20, 2010 at 7:32 AM

    It has been happening for way too long now. CEO’s of charitable organizations making 6 figures off the backs of the populace, trying to make a difference in our society. It has become an industry on to itself.

  14. Ontarian   June 20, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    Fraud is just that! FRAUD!!! You cannot call it something else even though those caught with their hands in the cookie jar will give it another name. It’s fraud!

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