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Doiron not backing off accusations City of Charlottetown and CAO Peter Kelly spent money without council approval

Coun. Bob Doiron renewed his accusations that the City of Charlottetown needs to open its books, accusing the city and its CAO Peter Kelly of spending close to $1 million without council approval. Dave Stewart/The Guardian
Coun. Bob Doiron renewed his accusations that the City of Charlottetown needs to open its books, accusing the city and its CAO Peter Kelly of spending close to $1 million without council approval. Dave Stewart/The Guardian - Dave Stewart
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Coun. Bob Doiron isn’t letting go of his accusations that the City of Charlottetown and its CAO Peter Kelly spent close to $1 million on asphalt paving without council’s approval.

Doiron, who has been pressing the subject for months, was back at it again during council’s regular monthly meeting on Monday.

Doiron is referring to the 2018/19 budget year when the city had set aside $3 million for paving. He said two tenders council approved came to about $2 million but the city went out and spent another $940,000 on some additional streets.

“They spent $940,000 without coming back to council for a resolution,’’ Doiron said following the meeting. “I believe that’s wrong.’’

Doiron questions why Coun. Terry Bernard, formerly the chairman of public works and currently chairman of the finance committee, didn’t see fit to inform council. And he accuses Kelly of having no authority to approve this expenditure and wonders why he didn’t inform council.

Doiron points to the Municipal Government Act that requires municipalities seek approval from councils for any expense over $25,000.

“They went out and they paved 12 extra streets and didn’t have council approval for that . . . I’m saying they need a resolution of council to spend that extra money.’’

Doiron said just because the city budgeted $3 million for paving it doesn’t give it cart blanche to spend it any way it sees fit.

“The CAO knew there was no approval and he let it go. This is a clear breech of authority.’’

In documents shown to The Guardian, it does show the city’s paving budget was $3 million and that less than that was spent in the end.

Coun. Mike Duffy, chairman of public works, said Doiron doesn’t understand the business of City Hall, that it’s the CAO’s job to take care of operational matters and council doesn’t debate which streets are going to get paved and which aren’t.

“Coun. Doiron is out to lunch,’’ Duffy said. “At no time did we exceed the $3 million authorized by council.’’

Bernard said the city actually spent $2.6 million of the $3 million budget, creating a surplus of $340,000.

Doiron is willing to admit he’s wrong but wants more information first.

“If I’m mistaken and I don’t know the rules, I apologize to everyone,’’ Doiron said. “If I’m right, why can’t we have a review?”

Doiron said he’s been stonewalled by the entire council and Mayor Philip Brown so he’s asked for a meeting with Premier Dennis King and Communities Minister Jamie Fox.

Brown said the audited statements for 2018-19 will be released soon and council will have a chance to look at them, hopefully answering Doiron’s questions once and for all.

Dave.stewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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