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Beattie to ask council to reinstate monthly cheque registry on public agenda

In Council Watch
Apr 20th, 2015

New Tecumseth Free Press Online

Every month, New Tecumseth’s finance department produces the running tally of all invoices paid out for that period called the Cheque Summary Report.

Up until about 2004, it was published monthly as part of the regular public council agenda, but was pulled without any notice, shortly after then freshman New Tecumseth councillor Jess Prothero questioning a purchase of an office chair that cost just under $1,000.

Essa Township still publishes its cheque registry as part of the public council agenda, monthly.

Ward 2 councillor Michael Beattie has put council on notice that he’d like the cheque registry to be made public again, including on the Town’s web site and agenda.

“One of the things that came up time and time again at the doors last fall was the need for more transparency and accountability – particularly with knowing how and where our tax dollars are being spent via the cheque registry and financial reporting system,” Mr. Beattie told Free Press Online via email. “What we’ve seen are quite a few redactions at the administrative level, redactions that raise questions. As I promised my constituents, I intend to ask those questions.”

The timing comes on the heels of the new financial reporting system, which produces a report that streamlines the entries, but omits the brief notations, and doesn’t separate the expenditures by departments.

“Unfortunately, the new system provides even less information as to what tax dollars are being spent on. Less information doesn’t inspire more confidence,” wrote Councillor Beattie. “I would like to see a more detailed itemization of expenses in the financial reporting system. I would also like to see the registry posted on our website just as our agendas are. And I will be proposing that the registry become a regular item on the first Committee of the Whole agenda of each month, so that questions can be asked and so that we can restore confidence in the integrity and accountability of our spending.”

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