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By the report of the proceedings at Monday's meeting of the Borough Council, which appeared m Tuesday's issue, it will be seen that the Audit Office threatens legal proceedings for the recovery from the Councillors who passed the amounts for payment of certain sums of money which the Auditor-General has disallowed. Some of these payments were made m 1887, and disallowed at the half-yearly audits of the accounts for that year, being sums of £2 arid £2 15s paid for hire of hall for political meetings, and £10 5s expenses of delegate to Municipal Conference at. Wellington, and the other disallowed payment is that of the £50 bonus paid to Mr Braddell, the late Town Clerk, by way of comptnsition for loss of office upon the adoption by the Council of the reduced scale of working staff and expenditure a few months ago. As regards the first three items it is probable that these proceedings would have been taken some months ago, but for the fact that a Municipal Corporations Act Amendment Bill was last session before Parliament, and thatthere wasaproposed clause upon the Order Paper, which, if passed into law, would have rendered such pro ceedingg unnecessary. As the Bill, however, was dropped through press of other business, the Audi tor- General had no alternative but to proceed according to the law as it now stands, hence the intimation which has been forwarded to our Municipal represetatives. As to the merits of the case, however, we think that there can be no doubt whatever as to the necessity for the amendment of the law, for although the several items taken exception to by the Auditor- General clearly come within the definition of illegal expenditure, every one of them as clearly ought to be perfectly allowable. For there is no public hallbelongingtothe Municipality, and there is no honorarium paid to the Mayoi, and when, therefore, m obedience to a request from a number of citizens hfg' Worship convenes a public meeting at the only hall available, which is private property, it is utterly unreasonable that he should be expected to pay the hire of the hall himself, and just as unreasonable that the Councillors as a body should defray it out of their private purses. Npr ought it to be necessary to send the hat round. The expenses of a public meeting of citizens convened at their own request ought clearly to be a fair charge against the civic revenue generally. So also m the case of the sending of a delegate to a council of governing bodies to discuss matters of common interest, that is as plainly a matter which should be properly chargeable against the funds of the bodies represented, whether they be Municipal Councils, County Councils, ftoad Boards, Harbor Boards, or River Boards, or even Educational or Charitable Aid Boards. Lastly, as regards the so called *' bonus " or " compensation for loss of offiqe " paid to the late Town Clerk, which was, indeed, wo believe nothing more than a payment m lieu of notice, this also was a perfectly reasonable and proper expenditure although technically illegal, and it will be observed that Mr Fitzgerald evidently js of that opinion, for he expresses his regret at being compelled to disallow it. JJndtsr the circumstances he has had no alternative but to proceed as he Js proceeding, but it is only natural that Councillors should nevertheless feel that the position of affairs is a distinct hardship. We see that the matter is to be brought before the M.H.JJ.'s resident m this district, who are to be asked to urge the Government to stay proceedings pending the bringing forward next session of a Bill to amend the law, and, no doubt, those gentlemen will lay the matter before the Cabinet very explicitly and fully, but it is quite on the cards that the latter may decide that it has no power to interfere. If so, the Govern ment might, we tbink, fairly be asked to pledge themselves to propose next session, not only an amendment of the law 80 -«» to permit of such expenditure m the future, £* alßo *° P l ?* a ssunm n on the estimates to n^ d to wuncillorß the amount which they m*, m 0 BWtjme be. required, to wake good,

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Bibliographic details

THE DISALLOWED PAYMENTS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1998, 16 November 1888

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THE DISALLOWED PAYMENTS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1998, 16 November 1888