Tory urged to clamp down on office budgets


Mayor-elect John Tory is being urged to clamp down on councillors’ expenses.

In the wake of a Toronto Sun story on councillors’ office budgets, the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition urged Tory to change the rules governing expenses at his first council meeting in December.

Tory’s spokesman said Tuesday that the incoming administration will “take a look” at the suggestion.

Under the current rules approved by councillors in 2012, councillors each have a $30,000 office budget. But they can turn to a separate general council budget to fund rent for a constituency office, cellphone expenses and the cost of delivering one newsletter.

“Council’s expense policy lacks common sense,” coalition president Matthew McGuire stated in a press release. “Councillor expenses are just that: councillor expenses. They should come out of council expense budgets, not a bottomless general expense budget.”

McGuire also argued third quarter councillor expenses should be released early in an election year — these expenses weren’t public until days after the Oct. 27 election.

“It’s imperative for voters to be fully-informed while casting ballots,” McGuire said.

Tory spokesman Amanda Galbraith said “keeping taxes low and ensuring Toronto tax dollars are responsibly spent are critical parts of John’s platform.

“As Mayor, John will work aggressively to ensure that all budgets are carefully and responsibly managed,” Galbraith said. “In particular, John will bring increased accountability and leadership so we no longer see the disgraceful cost overruns like at Union Station and Nathan Phillips Square.

“With respect to this specific suggestion, we will take a look.”

Councillor Doug Ford warned Tory on Monday not to increase councillors’ office budgets.

Getting council to slash their own budgets was one of the Ford administration’s key early accomplishments and Ford predicted some councillors would want to push to fatten up those budgets again with Tory in office.