Councillor Joe Magliocca fully repays City of Calgary after ineligible expense probe

Ward 2 Coun. Joe Magliocca sits in a committee meeting. Global News

Coun. Joe Magliocca’s ineligible expenses have officially been repaid to the City of Calgary.

A report on the matter was in front of the city’s priorities and finance committee on Tuesday.

Last month, the city received a cheque from Magliocca for $3,762.88. According to the report, the matter is now resolved related to the city’s investigation.

Overall, Magliocca has paid back nearly $10,000 to the city. His first repayments came shortly after the Ward 2 representative faced backlash following a Postmedia investigation into his expenses at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec City in 2019.

The report showed he expensed far more than any other councillor in attendance.

In February 2020, the city hired accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to perform a forensic audit into Magliocca’s expenses between November 2017 and July 2019.

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The investigation found Magliocca improperly claimed hosting expenses like meals and alcohol for meetings with other officials, but auditors said they could not confirm the attendance of some of those officials. A committee also found $2,700 in flight upgrades that were not in line with city policy.

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The expense investigation was referred to the Calgary Police Service, which referred the matter to the RCMP.

Calgary’s mayor said while he’s pleased to see the Magliocca expense matter come to an end, there remain sanctions that he has not completed.

“It’s frustrating to me because Coun. Magliocca and Coun. (Jeromy) Farkas have both chosen to ignore requests from the integrity commissioner for sanctions, and it bothers me that councillors can get away with that — if you’ve been sanctioned, you should take your lumps,” Naheed Nenshi said.

“It’s good that Coun. Magliocca paid back the money, but he still hasn’t apologized publicly.”

Although Magliocca did issue an apology in February 2020, he has not done so since the audit was released.

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City council included a public apology in a list of sanctions levied against him following the audit.

Council also banned Magliocca from submitting any business travel expenses until the end of his term, and requested he take training on city expense policies. Magliocca was also reprimanded for his actions.

“This has gone on and dragged on for way, way too long,” Ward 13 councillor Dianne Colley-Urquhart told Global News. “We really need to deal with these things in a much more expedited timeline than dragging this out for well over a year.”

Colley-Urquhart was named chair of the co-ordinating committee for the office of the councillors (CCOC), which is tasked with addressing issues with current expense policies that came to light during the Magliocca investigation.

The issues identified in the audit pointed to the need for better clarity in city councillor expense policies, improved processes, including expense approvals, more enforcement of compliance, better timeliness for submitting expense claims and more training for councillors on expectations for those claims.

In the meantime, city officials have been directed to oversee council expenses to ensure they are in line with financial policies within the City of Calgary.

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Colley-Urquhart said that an update on council expense policies is expected in the coming months, and she is confident another situation like Magliocca’s could be avoided in the future.

“It’s been ugly, but we’re coming out of this in a far better place — with transparency and accountability to the public — than we’ve ever been before,” Colley-Urquhart said.

Magliocca’s office has not responded to Global News’ request for comment.

–With files from Global News’ Adam Toy

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