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Council hearing update on audit action plan, travel expenses

The municipal Jubilee Centre and the Provincial Building in downtown Fort McMurray on Thursday, August 9, 2018. Laura Beamish/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network SM

Council will hear an update to the Competitive Procurement Audit Action Plan, as well as compensation, travel and expenses policy revisions for elected officials at their council meeting Tuesday.

Earlier this year, two audits were conducted by the accounting firm MNP, which found municipal employees were not consistent in following operating procedures or receiving proper formal training on the issue.

Three other key findings of the audit include the need for a capital project management process, an increased transparency with contractors and mandatory requirements and evaluation criteria.

The audits also found an increased focus on quality, safety and could improve the capital project management process.

In total, 38 recommendations were made. Currently, seven recommendations have been completed and two are in progress.

This will be the first progress update since council approved the plan on June 12.

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Council will also look at policy revisions for compensation, travel and expenses for elected officials.

Currently, one-third of an elected official’s salary is treated as tax exempt under Canada Revenue Agency regulations. However, recent changes for 2019 means this tax exempt will no longer be available, creating a net pay loss for mayor and council.

If there is no change to salaries, the mayor would see a net pay loss of approximately $720 bi-weekly. Councillors would see a net pay loss of approximately $175 bi-weekly.

Administration has put forward four options, including making no revisions, adjusting the mayor and council’s gross pay so that net pay remains the same, and to reconsider adjustments that were presented to council the previous council in January, 2017 which would see the salaries be fully taxed.

If council decides to make adjustments to salaries, required funds would be accommodated during the process for the 2019 budget.

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