Local councillor defends his reasons for billing to Town of Irricana
A Town councillor is defending his actions after Alberta’s department of Municipal Affairs (MA) ordered him to pay Irricana $825, money he charged to the Town for reading emails.
“The Town of Irricana’s remuneration policy doesn’t provide payment for councillors reading emails,” said Wendy McGrath, public affairs officer with Alberta Municipal Affairs.
“That was outside the perimeters of the policy.”
Councillor Frank Dusome said he charged the Town because he wanted to stop council decisions being made through email, something he alleged occurred about two years ago with the previous council.
Dusome said the process of making decisions over email eliminated debate over topics and kept them out of the public eye.
“I pleaded with councillors to say, ‘look, we don’t want to go down this route,’” he said. “Everybody knows I'm not on council for the money.”
Dusome said he approached MA regarding the issue but was not given any direction.
“They told me we should work it out amongst ourselves,” he said.
He said charging the Town for reading the emails helped bring the decision-making process back into council chambers.
“The emails dropped from like 200 a month to about 10 a month,” said Dusome.
He also said that there was no policy in place to prevent him from charging the Town for reading emails, adding his actions paved the way for a remuneration policy.
Mayor Lisa Constantini, who was on council at the time Dusome charged the Town for his time spent reading the emails, verified Dusome’s intentions.
“He chose to teach administration a lesson,” she said, adding his actions didn’t change the way council made decisions.
“Any emails we got were business,” said Constantini.
McGrath said attending meetings, sitting on boards and committees and attending conferences fall within the scope of the remuneration policy.
“Councillor Dusome has already paid back the money,” McGrath said.