One of the most interesting resources published on the City of Toronto’s website is a detailed listing of councillor’s expense reports. Councillors are given a fixed annual budget each year ($30,815.40 in 2014), details of their spending (and reciepts) can be found at this link.
The data can’t be downloaded in spreadsheet form, and it can be time consuming to look through all of the reports, but there’s a lot of interesting information to explore. A wise old audit partner once told me the quickest way to judge a person’s character is by auditing their expense reports- following his advice, I began digging to see what I could discover.
The one red flag that immediately jumped-out for me was how city councillors are individually responsible for contracting their own ward’s websites. It’s an classic example of technology mismanagement- not only are councillors forced to reinvent the wheel with each website (it would be more effective to use a shared template), but there were wild variations in how much each councillor paid to create them. Today we’ll explore who was careful with taxpayer’s money, and who wasn’t.