Mayor’s expenditures open to public scrutiny


The Mayor’s office hands over a small amount of information about their expenses

A while ago CityCaucus.com filed a Freedom of Information request to track down details regarding Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson’s discretionary expense account. This account is provided to the Mayor in order that he/she can support special initiatives, conduct research, host functions and travel when necessary. We originally asked for the names of the various contractors and consultants the Mayor had hired over the previous year, but were told this was going to take hours of staff time to track down.

As a result, we asked for the basic report which provides a high level overview of the expenses. However, upon review of the information they provided us, our research team simply can’t understand why they couldn’t also provide the names of contractors as well. We’ll continue to dig on that front over the coming weeks.

As for what we found in the expense report…well, there isn’t anything terribly exciting. The most interesting purchase seems to be a new $1,500 print for Chief of Staff Michael Magee‘s office by a local Vancouver artist. The print is called the Disappearing Alley. We’re led to believe it was put up right next to the other print the Mayor recently purchased titled "Disappearing Budget Revenue".

During the reporting period, the Mayor spent $19,741.79 on consultants. As stated earlier, we weren’t given access to a breakdown of who those consultants were…unless we were prepared to fork over big bucks to the City. Prior to his trip to Copenhagen with his Chief of Staff, the Mayor had also spent $14,192.90 on travel.

Despite delivering notoriously bad speeches, the Mayor also spent nearly $10,000 on "communications consultants" as per an agreement that was signed in September 2009. Let’s hope his staff kept the receipt.

One other item popped up on March 23, 2009 which caught the eye of our researchers. That’s when the Mayor picked up the tab for lunch with folks named "V. Geary, Solomon, Campbell, Green" for lunch at a cost of $277.20. Could that have been Vanessa Geary, Joel Solomon, Larry Campbell and Jim Green? If you’re interested in some good bedtime reading, be sure to click above and have a peek for yourself at all the expense claims.

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  • jeremy

    I think you’re consistently making yourself irrelevant in some matters,,,the irony is that average “joe” would not even be aware of such a “special account” and or know to ask for it – in any form…
    Yet you as former Chief of Staff to Sam Sullivan obviously are privy to this kind of wording – and by virtue of (you) no longer having a job are using your knowledge to request informatin in an attempt to either a, satisfy your curiousity, or b.look for something in these documents that you can “spin”…Since this is the 1st time ordinary readers have ever heard of such a secret account,,,I think it would hold much more relevance – as anything does when you are looking at statistical data,,,if you compared it to the annual account statements for the previous mayor….Do you have the cahuunaghs to do this …,to see how far aligned or mis-aligned things may be….of course it would only be to provide a reference …your own article says you “didn’t find anything exciting”….while now lets do that comaparison…..I actually would expect current spending to be higher with the Olympics and the build up / preparation that has been taking place..

  • audrey

    Why can’t the mayor take a bag lunch to work like the rest of us?

  • Glen Hall

    I’d be very interested in seeing the list of consultants Vision has hired using taxpayer dollars.
    How much is that FOI going to cost to dig deeper?
    And jeremy, you should pull your head out of gregor’s you know what, and wipe that stuff from behind your ears.
    Comparing gregor’s expenses to any former mayor is completely irrelevant. If he’s going to cut city amenities and buy $1500 paintings, we taxpayers have a right to be angry.
    So what say you city caucus boys, the FOI for the consultants needs to be done.

  • Working on it, Glen. It was a part of the original FOI, but they wanted a big payment for access to this info. Narrowing our request should avoid this.
    Thanks for asking about this.