Questionable spending revealed in TDSB trustee audit
Parking tickets worth $275, monthly phone bills of $250 and other 'inconsistencies'
An internal audit has revealed misuse of public funds by Toronto District School Board trustees, including questionable spending amounts on dinners, hotel rooms, parking violations and ring tones.
The trustee expense audit spans from 2010 to 2014, and measures the discretionary spending of the TDSB's 22 trustees. It comes in advance of a vote on how the board reimburses expenses on Wednesday.
The audit calls the spending "inconsistencies" within the current spending policy, and makes recommendations to amend that policy.
Some of the spending examples in the report include:
- Cell phone bills that extended up to $250 per month
- Extra cell phone services including premium ring tones, promotional text message subscriptions, and video messaging costs
- There were over $14,000 in U.S. and international calls, texting and roaming charges
- One trustee claimed 100 per cent of his/her internet expenses at two different residences
- One trustee claimed nine days of hotel and travel expenses for a three-day conference
- Trustees attended a conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Toronto, and filed hotel and dinner expenses despite living in Toronto
- One trustee charged $2,500 in taxi expenses, while another charged $4,700 in taxis over the course of the audit
- Five trustees claimed travel expenses for meetings they did not attend
- Trustees expensed gifts, including a $30 CD of music and $1,054 in glassware
- Unexplained trips were charged, including a 181-kilometre trip within Toronto
The average spending per trustee, however, was only $21,000, well under the allotted amount of $27,000.
The audit recommends monitoring trustees' phone bills, establishing guidelines around spending and delegation of responsibilities, more economical spending on hotel and travel expenses, and better overall record-keeping.