Add Mayor Sandy Shantz to the list of Woolwich councillors scrutinized for their election expenses. Her financial statement will be under the microscope at a July 2 meeting of the Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee (MECAC).
The group is getting plenty of work in the township, where Ward 1 Coun. Scott Hahn’s election filing is under review and Ward 3 Coun. Mark Bauman was temporarily removed from council for failing to file.
Elmira resident Alan Marshall’s request for a compliance audit of Shantz’s finances came Tuesday afternoon, just before MECAC members convened to chose an auditor to examine Hahn’s expenses. Following that, they were able to quickly select a date to look at the new application.
Under the Ontario Municipal Elections Act, the township has 10 days from receipt of the request to contact the audit committee, but the timing made it possible to do so within an hour of Marshall’s request. Now it’s up to the committee to decide if the request has merit. If it does, MECAC will follow the same path to appointing an auditor it did in Hahn’s case.
Shantz said she sees no issues with the statement she filed.
“As far as I’m concerned, my reporting is accurate, from everything I know,” she said in an interview following Tuesday night’s council meeting. “It’ll go to MECAC; if there’s anything [incomplete], I’ll make it right.
“As far as I know, everything that I’ve done is correct.”
As with Dan Holt, the applicant in Hahn’s review, Marshall will be asked to make his case before the committee at the meeting preliminarily set for July 2. Shantz will be given a chance to respond.
In his application to the township, Marshall laid out several areas of concern with the expense filing submitted by Shantz in relation to the 2014 municipal election. He claims the mayor’s financial statement may be incomplete and contains inconsistencies, with combined contributions and expenses that may have exceeded the $10,000 threshold to require an audit on filing.
“Also, I have just recently been advised by other citizens that there are possibly a number of other expenses which appear not have been included,” he wrote in his application. “Despite the contributions being thousands of dollars in excess of the $10,000 mark, it is also likely that the required audit may find undeclared expenses which have improperly lowered the value of total expenses below the $10,000 mark.”
Shantz’s election filing shows contributions to her campaign $9,475.39 (including $200 nomination fee) and expenses of $9,063.83, well below the spending limit of $22,625.75.
She said she’s at a loss to explain Marshall’s rationale for requesting an audit.
“The legislation is there to protect the public, but I don’t think this is serving the public good.”