Solving all our problems through councillor expense reforms

Surprising no one and keeping to the idea that you can solve most of the city’s budget problems by improving public perception, Doug Holyday will propose some new restriction on councillors’ office budgets at the next Executive Committee meeting. They’ll then go to Council in May.

According to the Star’s Daniel Dale, the new restrictions will prohibit spending public money on personal improvement services, parties, costumes, donations to community groups and sponsorships of sports teams. I hope there’s not an explicit restriction on “costumes” because that seems like something future historians will find hilarious.

Dale also reports on some of Holyday’s other proposed reforms:

The proposal would require councillors to have their newsletters produced by the city’s printing operation, Holyday said, unless they prove they’ve found a cheaper alternative. It would force them to use website developers from a city-approved short list. And to the chagrin of critics of Mayor Rob Ford, it would grant committee chairs sole authority to decide which councillors could take trips to conferences.

via New rules proposed for controversial council expenses – (Emphasis added.)

That last point is interesting, as it feels like an attempt to further centralize powers within the Executive Committee. With the way things work these days, that would essentially mean that council expenditures related to travel would be entirely at the whim of the mayor’s office.

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