Photo: Mayor Bruce Lantz says he has already paid the city back for any personal items that he put on the City’s credit card – file photo.
By Christine Rumleskie
A special council meeting has prompted Mayor Bruce Lantz to defend his spending habits.
On April 12th, Council added items to its ‘non-allowable’ spending list, including perks like alcohol and movie rentals.
City staff reiterated that any changes made stem from a meeting that was closed to the public on March 12th.
Energeticcity.ca & Moose FM made a Freedom of Information request to find out what transpired at that meeting, and a report outlining the closed council session was recently released.
The meeting began with the City Manager explaining that there were some issues regarding the Mayor’s credit card use, as well as his attendance at meetings and travel itinerary changes.
The report goes on to say that while away on City business, Mayor Bruce Lantz charged meals to the city’s credit card, but did not collect the $100 per diem that council usually gets to cover those kinds of expenses.
In a telephone interview on Thursday, Lantz clarified why he used the credit card rather than claiming the per diem.
The report says that at the March 12th meeting, Mayor Lantz agreed to repay any expenses on the card that were ‘improper’ or not supported by receipts.
Those expenses were not listed in the minutes.
However, Lantz says that he repaid those expenses "within an hour of getting an invoice from the City."
The report goes on to say that the Mayor had recently neglected to attend a meeting with the Northwest Corridor Development Corporation, in Edmonton.
But Lantz says when he arrived in Edmonton, he got a phone call regarding a personal family crisis. He says once he knew he wasn’t going to attend the meeting, he told City Manager Dianne Hunter. He says he informed her that he would repay the City back for all of the expenses associated with his travel.
The minutes from the meeting, however, indicate that other Councilors voiced their concern at not having been notified.
At that same meeting, Councilors voted unanimously (with Lantz himself abstaining) to perform a formal audit on the Mayor’s Visa and expense statements from 2009 to date.
Lantz says anything that he does is transparent, so the audit really doesn’t bother him at all.