N.S. Ombudsman says Guysborough County spending built for "personal advantage"

A Nova Scotia Ombudsman's report on spending in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough says a ``concerning dynamic'' existed around overall responsibility and accountability among councillors for travel and expense spending.

The report finds no wrongdoing, but says the system was built for ``personal advantage'' and allowed officials access to a form of short term loan and indiscriminate purchasing on corporate credit cards, including alcohol and various meals at restaurants.

It was also critical of council's travel policy, highlighting a 2014 Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting in Niagara Falls attended by 30 delegations from Nova Scotia.

Guysborough sent six delegates at a cost of $24,580.15, the largest expense by any delegation and much more than the Halifax Regional Municipality, which sent three delegates at a cost of $7,615.

The report also highlighted spending by longtime warden and now provincial cabinet minister Lloyd Hines, and notes a significant jump in mileage, meals and accommodation costs covering the period 2009-2010 to 2011-2012.

It says Hines' costs for travel and related expenses, including corporate credit card charges, during that period jumped from a total of $16,394 to $44,404.