Mayor Bruno Tassone (center) next to CAO Chris Barlow (left) and Tracey Butler (right) at a council meeting. (Photo: Betsy Kline)

Castlegar mayor’s travel appointment violates city bylaw

Councillor questions decision to approve spending

A decision by Castlegar mayor Bruno Tassone to send councillor Cherryl MacLeod to an RCMP conference in Kelowna broke the city’s council travel expense bylaw.

The appointment was mentioned in passing at the April 1 council meeting during a discussion about the RCMP crime reduction report.

Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff questioned the travel appointment at the time.

“Has that been brought forward through the policy?” asked Heaton-Sherstobitoff. “We have to approve anything that is out of our area.”

The mayor responded by saying, “No it hasn’t, sorry,” and then changed the topic back to the conference itself.

Tassone says he went to city staff the next morning for clarification on the bylaw.

He acknowledged he was not aware of the bylaw rules, but was just going off of what he thought he had been past practice.

“I didn’t even know about the bylaw, to be truthful,” said Tassone in an interview on Monday. “I bet 90 per cent of the councillors probably didn’t know about it.”

MacLeod also acknowledges she was not familiar with the travel rules.

“As vice chair of the public safety committee, Mayor Tassone and I are the liasons between RCMP and council,” said MacLeod.

So, when the mayor asked her to go to the Southeast District mayors and CAOs workshop with the RCMP in Kelowna she thought it seemed like an appropriate appointment, since it fit within her portfolio.

“When you are representing council at meetings directly related to the committees you represent, I had just thought — now I know wrongly — that it was sort of a given,” explained Macleod.

Tassone says from now on, all trips with travel expenses of more than $250 will come through council.

Heaton-Sherstobitoff says the mayor should have known better than to appoint a councillor to travel in the first place.

“At the start of the term, we were all given a binder with all the bylaws that are applicable to us,” she said in a follow-up interview. “We were all supposed to read them and become familiar with them.”

Tassone has now asked staff to prepare an update to the bylaw that would allow him to permit travel for himself or other councillors without going before council as long as the expenses would be less than $500.

The current bylaw allows the exception if expenses are less that $250.

The mayor says almost any overnight trip costs at least $250. He cited using up staff time preparing council resolutions as another reason to justify the increase.

Any bylaw changes would have to come before the full council for approval.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UPDATE: Castlegar brush fire human caused

RCMP are investigating the fire.

PHOTOS: Castlegar grads on parade

Stanley Humphries Secondary School celebrated grad last weekend.

Commercial truck caught dumping waste into river near Trail

Greater Trail RCMP report the company owner has been identified

Teck will continue to fight U.S. judgement

U.S. Supreme Court denied hearing Teck’s appeal last week

Castlegar residents encouraged to water smarter

Water Smart Ambassador will come to your home for a free assessment.

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Channel your inner pirate in epic Canada-wide treasure hunt

200 treasure chests hidden among trails and waterways, lots of prizes to be claimed

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Most Read