Letter to the editor 2, August 17, 2017

Serious financial issues

Dear Editor,

I am writing in reference to the August 10 article ‘St. Lazare council questioned over alleged financial discrepancy’ in Your Local Journal by John Jantak regarding the financial discrepancies of St. Lazare councillors committee attendance payments of 2013 compared to payments for 2014. This article raises a number of very serious issues.

1) How can the councillors attendance of ‘administrative or committee meetings’ go from an average of eight meetings per year in 2013, then jump to an average of 75 per year in 2014, and in one case 102 ?

2) How can there be detailed documentation of every meeting and attendee in 2013, and then suddenly in 2014 there is no documentation for any of these supposed 102 meetings?

3) Mayor Robert Grimaudo stated, “if mistakes were made in 2014, we will find them.” When spending taxpayers’ money, I would hope that when any councillor submits an expense, it has to be justified, verified, and documented, authorized by the mayor, then assumedly a cheque is written by the town’s Director of Finance. Also when the town’s ‘financial year’ comes to an end, there are professional accounting firms, like KPMG or Deloitte Canada, or even provincially employed accountants who must sign off on St. Lazare’s financial statement.

If these people did not find any ‘discrepancies or errors’ in 2014, how does Mayor Grimaudo expect to find any ‘discrepancies or errors’ three years later?

4) Mayor Grimaudo stated that “if errors have been made at an administrative or payroll level, they will be rectified.” As a taxpayer, this is not acceptable. If such ‘discrepancies or errors’ as this can be made and not discovered by the administration and finance, then the administration and people in the finance departments are not handling taxpayers’ money in a responsible way.

Errors even on small amounts are not acceptable, but I wonder how many other ‘discrepancies or errors’ may have been made, maybe on larger amounts of money which have not yet become public knowledge.

Joanne Ackland

Concerned St. Lazare resident

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