It has been greater than a 12 months since issues had been first raised about Coun. Joe Magliocca’s journey bills.
However his refusal to clarify the state of affairs and an ongoing police investigation imply some questions stay unanswered.
A forensic audit ordered by metropolis council final 12 months concluded that Magliocca improperly claimed bills for enterprise hospitality conferences he allegedly had with different folks. In a number of instances, the audit could not discover a few of his company or others who stated they did not truly eat or drink with him.
Because of this, council voted to impose 4 sanctions.
It wrote a letter of reprimand to him, requested he write a public letter of apology, take coaching on correct metropolis procedures and barred him from submitting any enterprise journey bills till the top of the present council time period.
The reprimand letter was issued final September.
The councillor, who represents Ward Two in northwest Calgary, has not written a public apology letter.
The town confirms Magliocca did take the required coaching final November. And, enterprise journey by any council member stays a uncommon occasion in the course of the pandemic, rendering that sanction a non-issue.
Magliocca did voluntarily repay greater than $6,200 to the town. He even produced receipts as proof the town did get the cash.
No remark, no clarification
However to today, Magliocca has refused to touch upon the issues together with his journey claims, how this occurred or supply any clarification for why he submitted claims for meals and drinks he purchased for individuals who weren’t truly on the similar desk.
The audit report was handed to the Calgary Police Service for investigation. It in flip referred the matter to the RCMP. There isn’t any phrase on the standing of that investigation.
In October 2020, council voted to have Magliocca reimburse the town $2,700 for air journey seat upgrades that he booked with out approval. Following that vote, Magliocca issued an announcement indicating that he would repay that quantity.
Nonetheless, he won’t verify to CBC Information if that has truly occurred and the town refuses to remark.
Council has no energy to impose sanctions
Some members of council say it is a irritating state of affairs. However they concede it is one which they actually can do nothing about.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi refused to touch upon the present state of issues regarding Magliocca.
Nonetheless, final September he was requested concerning the doable repercussions of Magliocca ignoring council’s sanctions and his refusal to touch upon the state of affairs.
“There are none,” stated Nenshi on the time. “We should not have the flexibility to truly impose these sanctions.”
The provincial authorities does have the ability to take away a neighborhood elected official from workplace however the UCP authorities has signalled it has no real interest in pursuing this matter.
“We mainly gave probably the most excessive sanctions now we have to present,” stated Nenshi.
Magliocca’s refusal to apologize hasn’t sat effectively with most different council members.
One indication of that got here final October throughout council’s annual organizational assembly. That is when the committee assignments and different duties for council members are determined for the 12 months forward.
It was proposed on the best way into the assembly that Magliocca be deputy mayor for February. It is only a designation of which council member in a given month will stand in to characterize the mayor if he is unavailable.
However after closed door conversations, council voted to not embody Magliocca in any respect on the deputy mayor roster for 2021.
The transfer got here a month after Nenshi stated that council might theoretically impose extra sanctions towards the councillor however he questioned the purpose of doing so.
“It might be [revisited] however I do not know what you’ll do about it. As a result of then he might simply ignore it once more if that had been his view,” stated Nenshi.
Magliocca is the second member of this council to disregard some or all sanctions imposed for breaching council’s code of conduct.
An investigation by former integrity fee Sal LoVecchio in Might 2020 decided Coun. Jeromy Farkas breached the code of conduct for a social media put up a few council vote which by no means occurred.
LoVecchio really helpful Farkas apologize for offering deceptive data to the general public. Council accepted that discovering and requested the apology.
However Farkas refused to conform.
Political scientist Duane Bratt stated each conditions present there are issues with the system for coping with breaches of the code of conduct.
On one hand, he stated you do not actually need a state of affairs the place council members are disciplining one another unnecessarily.
However he would not like the thought of handing that energy to somebody exterior of council just like the integrity commissioner.
“The query is: is fixing the flaw worse than the flaw itself?” stated Bratt.
He referred to as a state of affairs like Magliocca’s considerably uncommon.
“If this was occurring regularly, by a number of councillors over a number of years, then I do assume that you must remedy one thing,” stated Bratt. “However we’re coping with one councillor on a really small greenback quantity.”
Given the province’s resolution to not get entangled, Bratt stated it appears Magliocca has gone via the general public ‘naming and shaming’ of the method and determined to behave like nothing has occurred.
Magliocca continues to attend council conferences.
Like Nenshi, Bratt stated Magliocca’s future lies each in his personal arms and probably that of voters in Ward 2.
Magliocca hasn’t revealed whether or not he intends to run for re-election on this fall’s municipal election. But when he does, Bratt stated voters can decide another person or determine to maintain Magliocca in workplace.
One other potential future technique to take care of politicians who break the foundations is recall laws.
The province would not look like heading in that route by making adjustments to the Municipal Authorities Act or the Native Authorities Election Act.
Bratt identified even making an attempt to usher in recall solely raises a number of different questions.
The obvious one is: what number of voters could be wanted to set off a recall?
“There would [need to] be purple traces about how rapidly you could possibly do it after an election. May you do it within the 12 months earlier than an election?”
Magliocca’s refusal to acknowledge the controversy will not be discovered on his web site.
Ten month-to-month columns he is posted there over the previous 12 months do not embody any mentions of the state of affairs nor any apology.