July 20th, 2024

Keeping tabs on MLA expenses

By Letter to the Editor on August 21, 2017.

While I see great potential in the Subcommittee on MLA Expenses focus, a lot of that goodwill from the past 11 1/2 months has been destroyed by Derek Fildebrandt, MLA, Independent, Strathmore-Brooks the last few days.

As finance committee chairman, he received extra compensation to act responsibly. And yet even with his extra cash from committee work, he still unethically sub-leased his apartment which is funded by taxpayers. It should be noted that I don’t begrudge him the subsidized apartment as he is an out of Edmonton bounds representative.

Then he double-claimed for several hundred dollars in meal expenses. Then he (allegedly) hit another vehicle in the parking lot of his Edmonton condo and took off. If he had just left a note on the windshield with his name, cell and landline phone numbers, and his email so that the party who was hit (allegedly) on their windshield, he wouldn’t have been in any trouble. And if he had reported the (alleged) incident to the nearest Edmonton Police Service station, he could have had accident stickers made out for both vehicles.

You will note that I use the term allegedly in the exact and precisely proper places since the matter is before the Alberta Courts Traffic Division & defendant Fildebrandt has not been found guilty of any offence.

What I’d like to see is each and every time an MLA, staffer, or bureaucrat uses a government credit/debit card (that taxpayers are paying for) that the charge immediately goes up in “real-time” at the http://www.assembly.ab.cawebsite and the website of the MLA and/or the department making the transaction. Not the credit card number information, but the name of the MLA or department staffer should come up. They are public employees so seeing that they are spending responsibly and not wasting cash makes sense.

I am sure to many Albertans this makes great sense as the cards have microchips in them, so tracking the charges in a line-by-line item format for every single transaction would most definitely improve overall accountability. I, like many Albertans, appreciate the work of both the subcommittee and the Committee of Accounts and thank you two stellar chairmen for steering the efforts of the two so ably.

It’s a noble goal to fix day-to-day operational finances as it will let the finance minister get a better handle on yearly budgetary measures/expenditures.

Rory J. Koopmans

Edmonton

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