Over a year ago, the then Newmarket councillor, Maddie Di Muccio, used public money to run a half page advertisement in the Era, denouncing the (then) Leader of the Ontario PCs, Tim Hudak. I blogged about it at the time.
Unfortunately, we, the taxpayers, ended up footing the $1,181 bill for this private fued.*
Since losing her Council seat, Di Muccio has been reincarnated as a taxpayers’ champion. She is now President – no less - of the York Region Taxpayers Coalition.
In March, our councillors asked senior staff for advice on whether Di Muccio had broken any rules by using her Newmarket expense account to buy personal legal advice and to place advertisements in the local paper “while seeking the provincial nomination”.
Regrettably, Newmarket’s Director of Financial Services, Mike Mayes, cannot bring himself to state unequivocally that using public money to pay for a partisan political advertisement is wholly inappropriate and quite wrong. It is as plain as a pikestaff the money should be repaid in full, now. You can read Di Muccio's advertisement here.
Instead, Mayes and a bevy of senior Town staff who signed off his report, call for further legal advice given that Di Muccio is no longer a councillor. They also suggest bringing in the Integrity Commissioner. Perhaps.
If President Di Muccio thinks it is OK spending taxpayers’ money on political ads, where will it all end?
What is to stop the Mayor (other than his highly developed sense of self preservation) taking out a half page ad in the Era, denouncing her spendthrift ways with “taxpayers’ dollars”? As we all know, Van Bynen loathes Di Muccio and the feeling is reciprocated.
Instead of all this tortured agonizing by senior staff, it seems to me that President Di Muccio should be sent a bill for the full amount of the advertisement. Keep it short, simple and to the point.
Just like the one I'd get if I didn't pay my taxes.
The Town’s Chief Administrative Officer, the quivering Bob Shelton, should screw his courage to the sticking place and ask Di Muccio voluntarily to cough up the cash and reimburse the taxpayers.
If the President refuses, then, sadly, other more painful remedies will have to be applied.
Update on 27 May 2015: This afternoon Town staff posted a "follow up report" on yesterday’s report on the expense claims of former councillor Maddie Di Muccio which rather changes things. It now appears that the whole matter is out-of-time and that a complaint has to be filed with the Integrity Commissioner within 6 months of the event complained about. Frank Scarpitti, the highest paid Mayor in Ontario, who clashed with Di Muccio earlier this year, must be spitting feathers. Seems to me the Town should still ask for our money back.
*The sums actually claimed by Maddie Di Muccio included $1,225.19 for the Era advertisement (York Region Media Group) and $1,541 for legal advice (Kinahan Professional Corporation).