The provincial Ombudsman’s office is recommending the Guysborough District Municipality review its current travel and related expense policies, and ensure hospitality spending is clearly defined.
The report was ordered after the Ombudsman’s office received a complaint from a resident claiming reckless spending for out of province meetings, and municipal credit cards were used for cash advances and personal expenses.
While it found no wrongdoing, the report raised concerns about the district’s travel policy. It cited the example of a 2014 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference in Niagara Falls, where the Guysborough District’s expenses were the highest among Nova Scotia delegations, at more than 24-thousand dollars. It also pointed out significant increases in travel expenses logged by former Warden and now provincial cabinet minister Lloyd Hines; from 16-thousand dollars in the 2009-2010 fiscal year to 44-thousand in 2011-2012.
In a statement current Warden Vernon Pitts says he’s pleased with the report which shows there was no misappropriation of Municipal funds. Pitts says council has already amended policies which included most of the recommendations in the report.