Via his blog, St. Albert’s mayor attempts to explain his double-dipping to his readers.
One reason presented is the challenge he faces serving as the CRB chair, as well as mayor of this city and “which hat [he should] wear in given situations.” If it is such a challenge for him, would it not be prudent for him to relinquish one of these positions? The hours he dedicates to the CRB are the hours that St. Albert loses to having an individual give his ‘all’ to this city. Regardless if he can figure out which hat to wear, it does not excuse the double-dipping.
The Mayor also cites relying on a professional accountant for advice. His personal taxes are his business. But the city’s business are the people’s. It would be surprising that a qualified PA would even think of advising anyone to double dip. Is this a way of passing the buck?
And how confident are taxpayers suppose to feel that scribbling “notes to self” is taking care of the money St. Albertans have entrusted this person with? Do the mayor’s lack of an ATM card or a debit card really have anything to do with him claiming the same expenses from the CRB and the City? Definitely not.
The blog entry continues on with the number of events he has attended over the last seven years. Attending community events is part of a mayoral job and have nothing to do with claiming the same expenses from the CRB and the City of St. Albert.
He also discusses his donations to various causes and charities. That is all fine and good, but the fact is, these donations are tax deductable. The Mayor does not seem to realize that his personal donations do not account for the dismal way taxpayers’ money has been abused. Or did he expect that his double-dipping was a donation from the taxpayers?
Throughout this blog entry, the Mayor has attempted to garner the emotional side of his readers by citing various activities that are common duties when accepting the mayoral position stating that any other reports have been biased. Grabbing emotion is a good political ploy. But the fact is that the various reports in media have been quoting what the Mayor himself has publically said. The signed expense reports he files with the City and the CRB also state that what he claims as expenses are accurate. How can these sources be biased?
They ar e not biased as can be seen when he once again openly admits that “of course, my record-keeping of mileage and expenses has been inadequate”
Speaking of the signed paperwork the Mayor submitted to the CRB and the City of St. Albert, he can not expect the tax paying public to take his own self-audit as credible. Especially with the history of mismanagement he even admits to. Hiding income and double-dipping are serious. Multiple double-dibbing is even more serious and does not constitute a simple mistake.
With Mayor Crouse’s business and educational background, and as a politician for the last ten years, he, more than anyone else should know and understand double-dipping. Although he has given each councillor a run down of their supposed errors, one thing remains certain – no other council member to date has been found doing the same.
And why has Mr. Draper done a turn-around from early September where he felt that it would not be prudent to involve city staff because of legalities. Yet now he is willing to submit some poor tax consumer to looking through Crouse’s books and become a scapegoat for Crouse’s mistakes should this be taken further. Or is there something in the city’s books that would make certain individuals uncomfortable if an external audit were done?
An external audit would give more validity to taxpayers than having someone in the city’s admin department doing it. Presently taxpayers only know of the confirmed instances where the Mayor double-dipped. If there was truly nothing more to hide, Mayor Crouse would have readily accepted an external audit. As it is, there will always be questions as to his honesty and ability to work responsibly and honourably with taxpayers’ dollars.
A definite, obvious blemish on St. Albert’s politics – one that will continue to fester with each tax and budget season.