Wednesday, 06 September 2017 14:33

Put microchips in gov’t charge cards

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To MLA Robert Wanner, chairman of the Committee on Accounts, and MLA Thomas Dang, chairman of the Subcommittee on MLA Expenses.
While I see great potential in the subcommittee’s focus, a lot of that goodwill from the past 11 and a half months has been destroyed by Strathmore-Brooks Independent MLA Derek Fildebrandt in the last few weeks. He, as finance committee chairman received extra compensation to act responsibly. And yet even with his extra cash from committee work, he still unethically sub-leased his apartment which is funded by taxpayers. It should be noted I don’t begrudge him the subsidized apartment as he is an out-of-Edmonton bounds representative.
Then he double-claimed for several hundred dollars in meal expenses. Then he allegedly hit another vehicle in the parking lot of his Edmonton condo and took off. If he had just left a note on the windshield with his name, cell and landline phone numbers, and his email so the party who was hit allegedly on their windshield, he wouldn’t have been in any trouble. And if he had reported the alleged incident to the nearest Edmonton Police Service station (downtown headquaters in this case) he could have had accident stickers made out for both vehicles. You will note I use the term allegedly in the exact and precisely proper places since the matter is before the Alberta Courts Traffic Division and Fildebrandt has not been found guilty of any offense.
Mr. Chairmen, what I’d like to see is each and every time an MLA, staffer, or bureaucrat uses a government credit/debit card (that taxpayers are paying for) that the charge immediately goes up in “real-time” at the website and the website of the MLA and/or the department making the transaction. Not the credit card number information, but the name of the MLA or department staffer should come up. They are public employees so seeing they are spending responsibly and not wasting cash makes sense. It would help Finance Minister Joe Ceci who as a social worker is kind of hapless at his job.
I am sure to many Albertans this makes great sense as the cards have microchips in them, so tracking the charges in a line by line item format for every single transaction would most definitely improve overall accountability.
I, like many Albertans, appreciate the work of both the Subcommittee on MLA Expenses and the Committee of Accounts and thank you two stellar chairmen for steering the efforts of the two so ably. It’s a noble goal to fix day-to-day operational finances as it will let the MLA for Calgary-Fort get a better handle on yearly budgetary measures/expenditures.
Rory J. Koopmans, Edmonton

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