Calgary city councillor Joe Magliocca tallied $36,687.10 in net expenses, with nearly $16,000 of either not in accordance with city policy or yet to be determined after the forensic audit of his expenses was released.
Coun. Magliocca’s expenses went under review after it came to light through Calgary Herald reporting that there were issues during trips to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) meetings.
During a closed meeting on Tuesday night, city council voted to release a report from the forensic audit regarding Councillor Joe Magliocca’s expenses.
The forensic report, which was done by Shores Jardine LLP, showed several situations where money was charged to the city that shouldn’t have been, and events that were claimed but that Coun. Magliocca wasn’t a part of.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he will issue a public letter of reprimand to the Ward 2 councillor.
It’s believed the expense reports which will be sent to the Alberta municipal affairs minister as well as the Calgary police.
‘A pattern of behaviour’
The City of Calgary report from the investigation showed that 16 out 65 hosted events did not have names of attendees.
It also showed that 17 of Magliocca’s receipts were missing.
Mayor Nenshi said it shows clear signs of bad behaviour.
“What we’ve seen is a consistent pattern of behaviour, over a long period of time,” said Nenshi.
“This is a disregard, a real disregard for the rules at the very worst. This is a pattern of behaviour that I don’t think is befitting of an elected official.”
The majority of the expenses that were found ineligible was for meals and hotel stays.
In another instance in Halifax, cited in the report, Coun. Magliocca said he was attending an FCM director debriefing. Through the investigation, it was learned that Coun. Magliocca wasn’t in attendance at that meeting – because there wasn’t any such meeting going on. The meeting that was going on, Coun. Magliocca wasn’t a part of, the report said.
Report findings and recommendations
According to the report, the majority of the expense claims made were with regard to the Magliocca’s participation at the FCM events in 2018 and 2019.
The report recommended that the councillor be removed from the FCM for one year, during which time he will be provided with training.
He will also be banned from participating in business travel.
“There’s not one incident or two incidents there are incidents, over a long period of time, that have to do with travel expenses,” said Nenshi.
“It is very clear that there’s a pattern there. It’s not I made a mistake once or a mistake twice.”
He added that even if they uncover more misuse of money, council has little they can do to get it back.
Nenshi confirmed that council has not received an apology letter from Coun. Magliocca.
‘It’s not my decision’
When asked if he believes that Magliocca should be fired from city council, the mayor said it really isn’t his choice.
“Ultimately, I believe that the voters are the arbiters of this. It’s not the provincial government, who is the boss of the municipal council; the voters – the citizens – are the boss,” said Nenshi.
City council’s vote to share the findings was unanimous and Nenshi said even if it’s uncomfortable, the truth needs to come out.
“Regardless of whether you’re friends or for frenemies or acquaintances, with the councillor in question, council voted for this unanimously because that’s how seriously they take it,” said Nenshi.