Municipalities will soon post hospitality expenses online, based on a recommendation from a committee appointed to examine municipal expense policies and practices.
Municipal Affairs Minister Zach Churchill supports the recommendations of the Joint Municipal Accountability and Transparency Committee released today, April 21.
The committee included representatives from the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the Association of Municipal Administrators Nova Scotia, the Association of Nova Scotia Villages and the Department of Municipal Affairs.
“I want to thank the committee for their due diligence in looking at this important issue,” said Mr. Churchill. “The work of this committee was meant to further support our municipalities in being open and transparent and I’m extremely pleased with their report.”
The report contains key recommendations based on practices already used by some Nova Scotia municipalities. Recommendations include:
— requiring municipalities and villages to post expenses of chief administrative officers and elected officials online
— strengthening expense claim policies and practices including requiring municipalities to have expense and hospitality policies
— requiring municipalities and villages to have a code of conduct
— strengthening municipal audits and audit committees
— clarifying the role of the Department of Municipal Affairs in ensuring municipalities comply with the Municipal Government Act
The report notes additional opportunities to strengthen accountability, including performance management practices for chief administrative officers and the use of per diems as a standard practice.
Although not specifically recommended by the committee, the Department of Municipal Affairs will require municipalities to post their hospitality expenses online.
“As municipal leaders we want to do our best to be accountable to the people we serve,” said Bruce Morrison, warden of the Municipality of the County of Victoria and chair of the committee. “Preparing this report was an excellent opportunity to come together to highlight best practices and ways we can further support municipalities in expense reporting.”
Amendments to the Municipal Government Act will be brought forward this spring to implement most of the committee’s recommendations.
The full Joint Municipal Accountability and Transparency committee report is available online at: http://novascotia.ca/dma.