Is an Elected Member reimbursement of expenses policy necessary?
Regulation 31 of the Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996 (Regulations) outlines the expenses that all local governments are required to reimburse Elected Members for. These mandatory reimbursements are as follows:
rental charges incurred by a council member
in relation to one telephone and one facsimile machine; and
b) child care and travel costs incurred by a council member because of the member’s attendance at a council meeting or a meeting of a committee of which he or she is also a member.
Regulation 32 provides local governments with the discretion to approve reimbursements to Elected Members for expenses accrued while performing a function in his or her capacity as a council member. Establishing a council policy ensures that there are established rules and transparency regarding the awarding of these reimbursements.
How do the proposed draft reimbursement policies differ from the existing policies?
All current reimbursable expenses were assessed against the following principles:
a) a focus on transparency, including the justification and need for the proposed expenses;
b) ensuring a clear nexus between expenses paid by the City and the functions of an Elected Member under the Local Government Act 1995;
c) ensuring appropriate mechanisms are in place to enable the appropriate expenditure of ratepayer funds and to ensure any costs are applied by way of a consistent and equitable process.
Following this assessment the below list of reimbursable items/services were removed from the draft policy:
· personal presentation expenses;
· protocol gifts;
· spectacles/aids; and
· personal donations.
How will the City ensure transparency regarding Elected Members reimbursement expenditure?