Council update: Councilor Reimer strikes and replaces NPA motion on anonymous donations

Residents of Canadian cities need to have confidence in their elected official and know that the decisions made are in the best interest of the city and not influenced by anonymous donations.
Yesterday, Tuesday November 28, Vancouver City Council considered a motion from the NPA on anonymous donation to the city. I wrote about the motion previously here

After Cl. Affleck introduced the NPA’s motion and was reminded by the Chair on a point of order not to speak on matters from an in camera meeting, Cl. Reimer introduced a “strike and replace motion.” Cl. Reimer stated that she supported the original intent of the motion, but wanted do remove content in the motion that could possibly be inferred to be information that came from an in camera meeting. Also, Cl. Reimer cited the need to redirect the motion to make the focus of staffs time to make recommendations based on existing practices of the city and best practices analysis.

Here is Cl. Riemer’s motion:

1.    From time to time the City of Vancouver receives offers of anonymous donations to assist with Civic projects that meet established social, environmental or cultural objectives;

2.    The City of Vancouver should have a clear and transparent process, based on best practices, for anonymous donations to Civic projects;

3.    There are existing branded programs through which donations can be made to the City of Vancouver, such as those for cultural programs and the Vancouver Archives.

A. THAT staff report back with:
– information on the existing programs that exist for donating to Civic projects and the regulations that govern those donations in relation to anonymous donations;
– what, if any, changes to the current City of Vancouver giving programs in relation to anonymous donations would be recommended based on a best practices analysis;
– the amount of donations the City of Vancouver has received annually for the past 10 years, with anonymous donations disaggregated.

B. THAT interim to the report outlined in A, the current practice of disclosing anonymous donations to Council in camera continue

C. THAT should staff find this report will take more than 20 hours of staff time, they halt work on the report and come back to Council with an estimated budget for financial approval.

Clearly there is a need at the city to create more transparency and accountability around donations. There should be processes and programs that separate anonymous donors from decisions makers and staff. Residents want confidence in the integrity of the city and to know that anonymous donations are not influencing policy and decision-making.

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