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St. John’s council, staff travel expenses up 37 per cent in second quarter

St. John’s city council and staff spent nearly $129,000 on travel expenses between April and June this year, according to the city’s quarterly travel report.

Dennis O'Keefe.

The report, which outlines the destinations and total expenses of each trip — in all, $128,673.62 for the quarter — is due to be presented at council’s regular meeting this afternoon at City Hall. Council and staff travel expenses came to $83,182.12 in the first quarter this year. This year’s second quarter expenses represent a 36.5 per cent increase over last year’s costs of $94,207.42 in the same period last year.

Of the city’s elected officials, only Mayor Dennis O’Keefe and Coun. Jonathan Galgay submitted expenses. O’Keefe’s three trips in the quarter cost a total of $12,235.43:

• $4,995.33 for the World Energy City Partnership meeting and OTC conference in Houston, May 2-7;

• $3,710.81 for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference and trade show in Edmonton June 3-8;

• $3,529.29 for meetings with senior cruise line executives in Seattle and Los Angeles April 13-17 (Deborah Cook of Community Services also attended, at a cost of $3,959.99).

Galgay also went to the OTC conference and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference:

• $5,264.93 for the Houston trip;

• $3,912.05 for the Edmonton trip.

Elizabeth Lawrence of the city’s office of Strategy and Engagement also went to Houston, at a cost of $4,490.26, bringing the city’s bill for the conference to $14,750.52.


Among city staff, the biggest travel expenses are:

• $24,543.71, nearly one-fifth of the total travel expense for the quarter, to send six people to the American Public Works Association’s snow conference in Grand Rapids, Mich.;

• $13,711.35 to send the Public Works department’s Blair McDonald and Corporate Services’ Sharon McDonald to Columbia, Md., for “Routesmart training”;

• $4,065.39 for acting city manager Kevin Breen to attend a Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators conference in June;

• $3,930.98 for Financial Services’ Susan Ralph to attend National Accessible Transit Committee Meetings and the Canadian Urban Transit Association’s conference in Winnipeg May 30-June 4;

• $3,712.71 for Colleen Kendell of Financial Services to go to the Canadian Payroll Association conference in Quebec City in June;

• $3,441.42 for Bruce Pearce of the Community Services department to attend the Youth Homelessness Forum and Canadian Housing and Renewal Association congress in Winnipeg April 28-May 1;

• $3,040.52 for Community Services’ Natalie Godden to attend the International Physical Literacy conference in Vancouver in June., Twitter: @DanMacEachern

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