One of two such memos released July 20 covers new guidelines for trustee expenses. The memo is here with the appendix -- full of 'best practices' -- linked here.
The guideline provides some direction on what could be reimbursed to trustees, committee members and the like based on the legislative framework and some of the best practices already in place at some boards across the province. The revised rules are in place, likely, as a result of the Toronto Catholic board's extravagances-- more on this later.
Here's some of what is listed:
The policy addresses whether and under what circumstances the following types of expenses are eligible for reimbursement:Last fall, I was up to my eyeballs in receipts and expense statements for two southwestern Ontario French-language boards as a result of a Sun Media initiative to request all these documents from every board where the chain had a newspaper. Some of the TorSun's FOI requests to the Toronto Catholic board had provided the meat to the coverage of its trustees' excesses. While some of my colleagues in this region did publish on their allotted boards, a few of us (here and at the LFP) never have-- due to lack of time and opportunity for the followup phone interviews on my part.
- Travel and Accommodations;
- Community expenses;
- Advertising and promotion;
- Office Equipment and supplies; and
- Professional Development.
- The policy outlines a standard equipment package to be provided to all trustees and provides for the return of any equipment when duties cease. Duplication of services and equipment should be avoided, for example: Trustees have access to either a laptop or desktop computer.
- The board’s procurement process is used to purchase all supplies and office equipment necessary to perform the function of a trustee as well as advertising services and promotional items.
- The policy ensures equitable treatment between staff and trustees.
Anyway, boards must have their new trustee expense guidelines approved by Dec. 31 of this year, and posted either on their websites or available to the public.