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Prince George city councillors to discuss creating legal fund for themselves

The fund would provide $5,000 per year for each council member
Prince George City Hall
City Hall in Prince George.

Prince George city council is looking at a policy where each council member could claim expenditures of up to $5,000 per calendar year to retain independent legal counsel for advice.

The policy would allow council members to claim expenses if a council member becomes aware of an issue after an agenda has been published and wishes to receive advice on whether they are in conflict; or when a council member has declared a conflict of interest in a council meeting and wishes to seek legal advice regarding their own potential conflict.

This policy would not authorize reimbursement for any legal expenses incurred by council members regarding any matter other than their own potential conflict of interest.

City staff found that one other municipality in BC provides independent legal advice funding to its council members. That was the City of Vancouver, which provided each member of their council with a $5,000 budget.

Staff are suggesting the same budget as established by the City of Vancouver.

If approved, the funding of an independent legal advice on conflict of interests fund in the amount of $45,000 can be funded from the city's contingency fund for 2024. This cost would be built into the Mayor and Council operating budget for 2025 and beyond.

This item will be up for discussion at city council’s regular public meeting tonight.

Staff said if council wishes to proceed with a fund established for independent legal advice on conflicts of interest, then they would have three options: approve the policy as drafted, approve the policy as amended by council direction, or to direct staff to provide additional information.