The City of Nanaimo has released expenses of three senior employees for the first six months of this year. FILE PHOTO

The City of Nanaimo has released expenses of three senior employees for the first six months of this year. FILE PHOTO

City chief financial officer exceeds budget

The City of Nanaimo has released expenses for three top employees

Nanaimo’s chief financial officer Victor Mema has blown his annual budget.

The City of Nanaimo has released expenses of three senior employees for the first six months of the year, including Mema, chief administrative officer Tracy Samra and chief operating officer Brad McRae.

Like Nanaimo’s elected officials, the trio have annual budgets. Mema, who has also been acting CAO this year, spent $11,974 as of June 30, exceeding his $7,500 budget.

The biggest cost came from travel and conferences, tallying $9,348, including for reimbursements for a SAP conference in Orlando, Fla., costing more than $3,600 and just over $500 for travel relating to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre contract.

Mema, who is away until Oct. 2, said in an e-mail that the city has used SAP as its financial system and platform since 2001, it will not be supported going forward and he took one of the supervisors in IT to the conference earlier this year to have an understanding of the future SAP platform and learn of experiences from other organizations.

“Learnings from this conference are informing our own road map,” he said. “The city will spend in excess of $2.5 million over the next few years for this transition.”

He said annual budgets are estimates and guides to operations and all expenditures are reviewed in light of costs and benefits. As for where money comes from when an employee or councillor exceeds allowances, Mema said budgets are managed out to the corporate totals and that they’ve always come up with surpluses at the end of the year.

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McRae has spent $1,297 as of the end of June, which is under his $5,500 budget. His largest expense is for travel and conferences at $760, covering mileage and crime prevention and reduction conferences on the mainland. Samra has spent $3,865 of her $16,530 budget. Her largest expenses have been from $1,919 in travel to meetings in Nanaimo and Vancouver and $761 in legal costs.

The city did not include first quarter expenses in the report as it did for councillors.