Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation show Charlottetown Events Development Officer Wayne Long’s overlapping meal expenses and five-star hotel stays.
“Charlottetown taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for an employee’s taste for luxury,” said CTF Interim Atlantic Director Renaud Brossard. “If city employees can repeatedly violate their expense policy with impunity, what good does it do?”
The CTF has identified 48 instances where Long claimed his per diem for meals that were either reimbursed on a separate expense claim or included within conference admissions.
The city’s Travel and Meal Reimbursement Policy states: “A meal allowance will not be paid to an Employee with respect to a meal that is included in the transportation fare, or in the cost of the conference fees.”
Long’s extra per diem claims have cost Charlottetown taxpayers over $1,562 since April 2019.
When asked about these expenses, a spokesperson for the city of Charlottetown responded that “it is not always possible to eat on a schedule” and “business meetings that occur outside of conference/event scheduled hours are a common practice that can often times lead to employees covering costs of meals.”
“It’s one thing when something unusual happens that’s an exception to the rule,” said Brossard. “But this looks more like the exception actually became the rule.”
The CTF identified three different conferences Long attended where meals were provided as part of the cost of the ticket, for a total of 10 meals. Long collected a per diem on ALL 10 occasions.
The CTF also identified 38 instances where taxpayers paid for business dinners or room service for meals where Long ALSO claimed his meal-allowance.
“Nearly every time Long got a conference meal or had a business dinner, taxpayers were on the hook for it twice,” said Brossard. “Why even have a rule if everything is an exception?”
The city’s Travel and Meal Reimbursement Policy explicitly states: “Use of luxury accommodation will not be reimbursed.”
When asked about the pricy hotel stay, a spokesperson for the city of Charlottetown responded: “It is standard practice for City staff to seek out the best possible rate for accommodations.”
“Does the city really expect us to believe $470 per night is ‘the best possible rate’ for a hotel room?” said Brossard. “Surely they could find something cheaper if they just Googled it.”
In May, allegations surfaced of former Charlottetown chief administrative officer Peter Kelly ignoring procurement rules in approving certain city expenses without council approval.
Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation show Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown and fellow councillors expensing a $1,800 boozy steak dinner and getting five taxpayer-funded meals per day during the 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec City.
“We’ve seen more than enough recently with Peter Kelly, the mayor and councillors’ $1,800 boozy steak dinner and Long’s taxpayer-funded taste for luxury,” said Brossard. “We’re calling on the province to step in and audit the city’s finances to clean it up once and for all.”
Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation are available by clicking here: