On Wednesday, Calgary city council spent more than four hours in a closed-door meeting to discuss Coun. Joe Magliocca’s expenses.
The Ward 2 councillor has come under fire for expenses he claimed during the 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec City.
Wednesday’s meeting focused on who would lead the investigation into Magliocca’s expenses since integrity commissioner Sal LoVecchio recused himself due to a potential conflict of interest.
LoVecchio said in a public statement on Feb. 11 that he shared a social lunch with Magliocca last summer, which the councillor later expensed to the city without his knowledge.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said LoVecchio’s recusal caused an issue that city administration was not prepared to deal with.
No formal decision on who will replace the integrity commissioner was made on Wednesday, and Nenshi said there are still questions that need to be answered.
“Should it be the city auditor? Should we give the city auditor the ability to hire someone else?” Nenshi asked.
Council voted to keep the content of Wednesday’s closed-door meeting confidential.
They also voted in favour of appointing Nenshi as council’s spokesperson on the matter of councillors’ expenses and on the recusal of the integrity commissioner.
On Monday, council will vote on Coun. Jyoti Gondek’s urgent notice of motion that calls for a better system to deal with council expenses, with the city auditor and city manager coming up with recommendations.
Magliocca was the only councillor who did not attend Wednesday’s meeting in person or over the phone.
Nenshi said he had not recently talked with Magliocca, and that he didn’t know where he was on Wednesday.
The mayor clarified that Magliocca was not banned from the meeting, but that the Ward 2 councillor could excuse himself from any future meetings involving his expenses.
“Under the rules, there is only one reason under which a councillor may exempt themselves from a meeting,” Nenshi said. “That’s if they’ve got a pecuniary or financial interest. But that is something that must be done in public… That did not happen today.”
Nenshi said Magliocca will be marked absent for Wednesday’s meeting.