ARICHAT: Council approved changes to existing municipal policies and created new ones.

During the regular monthly meeting of Richmond Municipal Council on March 26 in Arichat, councillors approved recommendations from the municipal policy committee to amend its travel expense policy, hours of operation, and employee policy manual, while adopting new credit card, hospitality and hiring policies.

Richmond Warden Brian Marchand explained that the changes to the travel expense policy deal with who has permission to attend events and how long people have to submit expenses.

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“Now the CAO does not need permission from the warden to be able to travel,” the warden explained. “The warden does need permission from the CAO to be able to travel. That will be in the new policy. So that’s a big change right there. We still left the 60 days for people to be able to get their expenses in.”

The warden noted that the new credit card policy put limits on how much and what can be expensed.

“It’s a total new policy, I don’t think we really had one so we put some limits on what can be purchased on that card,” the warden said. “There’s a limit now, I believe it will be $5,000 on a purchase. Purchases cannot be broken up to get to that.”

As for the new hospitality policy, Marchand said the big issue was the presence of alcohol at events.

“Hospitality is mainly no alcohol, that’s the big issue with that,” Marchand stated. “It’s to allow us to go over – if we’re having events here where we’re hosting companies that do want to come in – it gives the ability for us to spend a little bit on the meal.”

Council also voted to remove sections on expenses and reimbursement, conditions of employment and job opportunities, and the recruitment of non-management staff, from the employee policy manual.

“There’s been some sections amended from the old employee policy manual, we put it all just into one,” the warden said. “It’s more just to have a separate hiring policy.”

As for hours of operation, council voted to remove the section on the Christmas closure of the municipal office.

After thanking policy committee members-at-large Lois Landry, Robbie Fougere and Dave Forgeron, council filled vacancies on its policy committee with the appointment of Germaine White MacDonald, while Emma Ferguson was approved to sit on the municipal audit committee.