It will be up to the courts to decide whether or not Joe Magliocca’s actions were criminal or not. After such a lengthy investigation by the RCMP into Magliocca’s expense scandal, they decided that it was worth laying charges. Police typically aren’t eager to get into the mess of charging sitting politicians with crimes unless there is some pretty solid evidence of wrongdoing. Time will tell.
The public doesn’t need to wait for the courts in order to render judgment upon Councilor Joe Magliocca. They can find him guilty on October 18th by giving him a resounding loss in the civic election.
Whether Joe’s actions were criminal or not, they were clearly unprincipled. He has repeatedly demonstrated a complete disregard for the taxpayer’s dollars that he has been entrusted with. Whether it was the espresso machine that he expensed to the city in 2014 (he paid that back when exposed) or the clearly egregious expensing of meals while traveling, it shows a pattern of entitlement and disrespect for taxpayers.
Fraud under $5,000 is one of the charges that Joe faces. Not that I would have wanted Joe to aim higher, but it’s the low and petty nature of his actions that make this all the uglier. If indeed a person is going to risk a career with a six-figure income and a huge tax-subsidized pension plan, you would think they would try to take something big. I don’t support or respect any civil servant who would steal a large amount from taxpayers, but if the prize was large I could at least understand the motivation a little. Moral lapse aside, Magliocca’s judgment was seriously terrible on this whole issue.
Had Magliocca been more genuine in apologizing and doing public penance for his actions, perhaps some voters could forgive him. Joe’s strategy upon being caught with his hand in the cookie jar had been to keep a low profile and hide from the public. He really was hoping that the scandal would be forgotten by now and that he could ride the advantage of being an incumbent in an apathetic city back into another term in office.
Calgary voters are loathe to bother themselves with kicking incumbent councilors from office. Once elected, councilors can and often do spend decades on their seats. As long as they don’t rock the boat, voters will keep putting them back. Look how long Dale Hodges and Ray Jones stayed on city council. Most people couldn’t even name either of them because they rarely did a damn thing to put themselves in the spotlight. It worked like a charm and they spent decades in office.
Voters need to get off their apathetic asses and do their civic duty by voting out Joe Magliocca in this election. If Magliocca gets back in after all this. the voters in Ward 2 indeed will be getting the government that they deserve. It will be an embarrassment for the city.