A Castlegar City Councillor is looking to impose stricter rules when it comes to attending the national Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference.

Six of seven councillors attended the recent event held in Quebec City this year from May 30 to June 2 – all but Bergen Price. Each councillor is currently allowed to attend twice during their term, but Florio Vassilakakis wants to see that down to just once and only two councillors at a time. He feels FCM doesn’t provide tax payers with the best value compared to the provincial Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) conference.

“Having gone to two FCMs versus to five UBMCs, I can say without a doubt that the conference in the province, the UBCM conference which is held yearly, is more pertinent to municipalities in British Columbia,” he stated.

A heated discussion also unfolded at Monday’s meeting as Mayor Bruno Tassone and councillor Cherryl MacLeod were questioned about their activities during the four day event.

Mayor Tassone hasn’t disclosed to council which sessions he attended and says that’s because it was the Regional District of Central Kootenay who paid for him to attend the conference.

“Since I was a representative as a director of the regional district, that I would send my report to the regional district, which I did. I thought it should go to them first and then come back to council on the agenda of the regional district,” explained Mayor Tassone.

RDCK directors meet again on June 20.

According to Councilllor Vassilakakis those attending a conference, seminar or training session covered by tax payers should be required to issue a report on what they did.  That’s also covered in one of two notice of motions he introduced on Monday which will be discussed at an up coming meeting.

“Part of the discussion should be to share the ideas and items that came out of a conference like that so that we can have a good discussion about what we learned and what we can bring to this community,” said Vassilakakis.

Councillor Dan Rye responded to criticism on Facebook that he had brought his spouse to FCM. Many others did bring guests with them as well, but their travel expenses are not covered by tax money. Companion tours are available for the guests of the conference attendees and Councillor Rye said that his wife attended two which he paid for.

There were also questions raised about whether Councillor MacLoed and Mayor Tassone attended any of these tours.

The mayor stated in an interview Wednesday he’s not trying to hide anything and that it’s all covered in his report to the regional district. Councillor MacLeod said she went on two companion tours with her husband, which they paid for.

“Yeah, absolutely,” she said in an interview. “It was part of the package of going to FCM.”

Councillor Vassilakakis doesn’t feel it’s the best use of time for councillors attending the conference. “I’d like to know what their answer is on how they believe that provided value to the tax payer,” he said.

You can find a report from each of the five councillors who attended on the City of Castlegar council agenda here.