Taxpayers fund Mississauga councillor’s overseas trips

Coun. Nando Iannicca expensed trips to Dubai, Hawaii and Miami in 2016

NEWS Mar 27, 2017 by Rachael Williams Mississauga News

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Coun. Nando Iannicca

Coun. Nando Iannicca expensed nearly $16,000 to attend conferences in overseas destinations in 2016. – Metroland file photo

Mississauga’s downtown councillor spent nearly $16,000 of taxpayer dollars on trips to Dubai, Hawaii and Miami last year.

An overview of municipal and regional expenses claimed last year shows Coun. Nando Iannicca travelled to the world’s most popular vacation destinations on the taxpayer’s dime. This includes a $6,859 voyage to Dubai, a $5,440 Hawaii excursion and a $3,607 trip to Miami.

The ward 7 councillor listed the names of various conferences as the reason for his globetrotting. Conferences included the International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences (Miami), World Conservation Congress on sustainability and conservation (Hawaii) and the International Conference on Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Dubai).

“My attendance at the World Conservation Congress was as Chair of Credit Valley Conservation,” wrote Iannicca in an email, noting it is only held once every four years and former President Barrack Obama was the keynote speaker.

“Conference lasted 10 days though I stayed for only five, booked the conference hotel at a reduced rate, and also reduced my expenses by covering almost all the airfare myself.”

In 2015, Iannicca expensed conferences in Greece, France and Italy totalling $15,922.

When asked if his family accompanied him on any of his business trips, Iannicca declined to answer.

He told The News his expenses conformed to all policies, were under budget and approved by staff and council.

Examination of line-by-line expense filings shows Iannicca also topped the list for councillors who spent the most on “business meetings”, charging approximately $3,742 back to the city, over $1,000 more than the mayor’s business meeting expenses.

Iannicca represents Mississauga’s downtown, the highest populated ward in the city undergoing major intensification.

Comparatively, the city’s waterfront is in the midst of an unprecedented revitalization and is a hotspot for developers, land speculators and other stakeholders, yet area Coun. Jim Tovey did not expense any business meetings.

An overview of municipal expenses claimed last year shows city councillors spent a total of $323,012 on events, fundraisers, conferences, phone bills, promotional material and donations to community organizations and other city business.

Coupled with expenses filed at the Region of Peel, which totalled $46,065, councillors expensed $369,077.

Mayor Bonnie Crombie used $81,029 of her annual $104,100 municipal office budget, an $18,470 increase from her 2015 expenses.

Crombie’s largest filings come from two trade missions, one to India for $14,282 with Premier Kathleen Wynne and a $10,775 mission to Japan as part of her campaign promise to promote the city in overseas markets.

She also claimed $7,248 at the Region for conferences in San Francisco, Winnipeg and Windsor.  A $2,500 registration fee for the India trade mission was also expensed at the Region.

Coun. Pat Saito’s municipal expenses topped the list of all councillors, having spent $34,122 in 2016. However, the Ward 9 councillor used nearly $9,000 of her office budget to fund the opening of the Meadowvale Community Centre, including the supply of promotional items, popcorn and refreshments.

The lowest spender on city council in 2016 was John Kovac, expensing a mere $7,129 of his $32,849 office budget.

Mississauga councillors take home an annual salary of $85,581 from the city, plus an additional $54,315 for sitting on Region of Peel council.

Crombie earned an additional $13,444 for her membership on Peel Police Services Board, $22,605 for sitting on the Enersource Board.

Enersource, which is 90 per cent owned by the city, also paid Saito $10,800 and Coun. Ron Starr an additional $9,600.

Iannicca also takes home an extra $13,181 for sitting on the Credit Valley Conservation Board.

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