Peace River council prepares to post expenses on website

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Peace River town council will soon be posting all council timesheets and expense claims on its website.
Late in 2022, Peace River Deputy Mayor Orren Ford proposed an amendment to the Mayor and Councillor Renumeration Policy to have all timesheets and expense forms posted publicly online. Administration later suggested to simply action the change by a motion of council as an amendment was not required.
“Some councillors brought forth the idea of posting mayor and councillor timesheets and expense claim forms,” explains Mayor Elaine Manzer.
“Council approved this under the transparency lens.”
At a Governance and Priorities Committee meeting it was suggested to retroactively post all timesheets and expense forms from the beginning of council’s term in October 2021.
“Council renumeration is processed under the Council Renumeration Policy which councils tend to review at some point during their four-year term,” says Manzer.
“Peace River’s will be brought to a council discussion and will have some recommended changes to keep it current,” she adds.
Lengthy deliberation was taken by council to decide how the information would be presented on the Town’s website. Once a method is chosen, there will also be time required to design and develop the webpage.
“The information will be posted on the (Town’s) website in a similar fashion to what Hinton does,” says Manzer.
“Administration will be working on the behind-the-scenes processes to post the information on the website starting in 2023.”
Council’s decision was to ensure complete transparency with ratepayers and to show where council spends their time representing the community.
“Individuals are held accountable by their own consciences, as well as their pledge to follow the Council Code of Conduct which includes following Town policies,” says Manzer.
“At present, the Council Renumeration Policy indicates that councillor expense claims are checked by the CAO and if there is a question brought to the mayor.”
She adds this is a common practice in municipalities throughout the province, and the Town has decided it is a good idea for them to do as well.
“In other regions of the province, some councils have started posting individual monthly expense claims,” Manzer explains.
“All municipal councillor expenses and honoraria are summarized for each councillor for the year in the municipality’s audited financial statements, which are always publicly available,” she adds.
All timesheet and expense information is expected to be on the Town of Peace River’s website sometime in January.

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