Friday, January 31, 2014
I'm No Crook
FVRD backs off
Adamson and Bales over repayment of undocumented travel expenses
Voice staff/File photos/REVISED
Adamson, FVRD Director Area B listens at a meeting in July 2012. Below, he
speaks at an NDP convention in January 2013.
fter a tumultuous few months of
unprecedented scrutinizing by the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD)
for his travel expenses, Area B director Dennis Adamson says the
issue has been dropped and now he just wants his name cleared.
The FVRD has been saying that both he and Area C Director Wendy
Bales had their hands in the cookie jar a bit too often and have
been fudging on expense claims. But at last week's meeting the board
Adamson told the Voice in a phone interview Thursday that a
motion was passed at the last FVRD meeting on Tuesday to cease
trying to force him to pay back $1542. Instead, they asked him "do
the right thing" and just pay the money back of his own accord. Area
C director Wendy Bales was also included in that.
is adamant about his innocence and insists he was unjustly treated,
adding that he was never asked to keep any receipts and has no
intention of paying back any of the money the FVRD was asking for.
Last year, the FVRD ordered an audit of all the directors and found
some discrepancies in Adamson's and Bales' expense claims. The audit
indicated that in Adamson's claim of $28,546 for 35,740 kilometers
there was a discrepancy of $1542 for which he had no supporting
Even though the FVRD board meets bi-weekly, Adamson says it's a
full-time job for him to represent an area that encompasses
Yale/Dogwood Valley/Sunshine Valley/Laidlaw /Choate/Othello/Spuzzum
and involves a lot of travel in order to meet with constituents.
Each month Adamson submits his expenses. The FVRD pays 52¢ per
kilometer for the first 400 kilometers. After that, directors are on
their own. But he says that's not nearly enough for the amount of
running around he does and that some months his mileage is double
that which then comes out of his pocket.
"In one month I put 734 kilometers on and I got paid for 400, and we
kept going like that until September," he explains.
To make matters more complicated, Adamson says that last year, Yale
constituents paid $7200, or about $5 a household, in extra taxes to
allow for his additional travel costs that he wasn't able to tap
Last September, he wrote a letter to the FVRD asking for access to
the $7200 funding which was later denied and he quoted staff as
saying they would be refunding the money to constituents.
When Adamson went to defend his position at the meeting, he was told
that it was confidential and couldn't talk about it the policy which
was amended in 2007 from its 1998 formula.
"Area B put in money to that and so there was no going over
anything, the money was in there and they did this audit on old data
purposely to make us look bad, and then when I confronted them about
this policy, they said 'Oh, that's not true' and they pulled out a
personal and confidential document and released it in the paper and
then put it in the agenda last night."
Despite the board passing their 2014 budget on Thursday, Adamson
says there won't be any extra money in it for his travel expenses
that he says he needs to do his job.
Adamson didn't say if he's going to go over the 400 kilometer limit
in the future and is pessimistic about recovering the full costs if
he does, but he plans to do his best to serve all the constituents
in the area.
"I'm going to put that (expense claims) in, but knowing, them I'm
not going to get paid," he says.
Director Adamson contacted the Voice to let us know we didn't get
some of the article details correct. As follows:
"To set the records straight, I have
documents to prove that I do not owe any money-not even one cent!
Director Bales also does not owe anything."
Copyright (c) 2014 The Valley Voice