Former Iqaluit mayor owes city $9,500 for Iceland trip

Bell promised to pay amount back, mayoral vacancy to be discussed at council next week

Former Iqaluit mayor Kenny Bell owes the city about $9,500 for a trip he took to Iceland, which he has offered to pay back. (File photo)

By Emma Tranter

The former Iqaluit mayor owes the city more than $9,000 for a conference he flew to Iceland for but did not attend.

Kenny Bell flew to Reykjavik, Iceland, last week for the 2022 Arctic Circle Assembly where he was scheduled to speak on a panel.

Conference organizers and City of Iqaluit staff both confirmed Bell did not show up to those speaking engagements.

A post on Kenny Bell’s Twitter page from Oct. 15, 2022 shows the former mayor in Iceland (Screenshot/Twitter)

Bell did share photos of Iceland on his social media pages last week.

Chief administrative officer Amy Elgersma told Nunatsiaq News earlier this week that Bell offered to repay the city for the costs of the trip.

As of Thursday, he had not reimbursed the city, spokesperson Geoffrey Byrne said in an email.

“The amount owed to the city for the trip was $9,484.78,” Byrne said.

Byrne provided Nunatsiaq News with a breakdown of those costs: $4691.20 for flights, $3938.18 for accommodations and $855.40 for registration fees.

Bell announced his resignation in a Twitter thread posted Tuesday. He was elected mayor in the fall of 2019 for a four-year term.

He has declined interview requests from Nunatsiaq News.

Meanwhile, Iqaluit council is expected to determine who will fill in as the capital city’s mayor at its next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 25.

A post from former Iqaluit mayor Kenny Bell’s Twitter account on Oct. 18, 2022 shows him visiting a waterfall in Iceland. (Screenshot/Twitter)

Under the Nunavut Elections Act, city council can either appoint a councillor as mayor for the remainder of the term or hold a byelection to elect a new mayor.

“A decision on moving forward is expected at the upcoming council meeting,” Byrne said.

For now, deputy mayor Solomon Awa has assumed the role of mayor.

The Nunavut Elections Act also states that a byelection can’t be held if there is less than six months before the next municipal election date.

The next municipal election will take place on Oct. 23, 2023.

 

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(34) Comments:

  1. Posted by Bob Edward L on

    Take Elections Nunavut to court! Most Nunavut communities council positions are likely appointed or acclaimed, breaking Hamlet’s Act or Cities, Towns, Villages Act. 4 year term for Councillors doesn’t work.

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  2. Posted by Umingmak on

    What about the salary he’s been paid while on his little vacation over there? He should be required to pay that back too.

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    • Posted by I’ll Settle… on

      I’ll settle for him donating that portion of his salary to a charity that aims to alleviate the causes he was expected to do a talk on. Creating attractive living environments for our Youth.

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  3. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    Hey there is an opening for KIA President now. I hear they look the other way on a lot of things and play your cards right ask for a $9,504 signing bonus.

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    • Posted by Northerner on

      $9500.00 a pop , and they sent the largest delegation there. The jetsett crowd living it up on some ones dime.

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      • Posted by Gross on

        Exactly, a lot of people taking full advantage of the pricey perks of membership in their elite clubs.

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  4. Posted by Sorry not sorry on

    This guy always commenting about food insecurity and the price of housing but has the gull to do this without even explanation?! What kind of person does that? This guy ran for mayor to try to be popular but it didn’t work and now he is trying to get revenge because people didn’t like him.

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  5. Posted by 867 on

    $4000 in accommodation? Where was he staying? The Disco?

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    • Posted by 979 not even on

      Disco is cheaper at only $300 a night. Kenny would also have received per diems for his travel or at least he would have submitted a claim for them. Canada’s per diem rate for Iceland is $225 per day. Kenny would have received over $1000 in per diems plus a few hundred dollars in taxi fares for the trip to the conference.

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  6. Posted by Bert Rose on

    With a city budget exceeding 20 million dollars and having obtain a 219 million dollars to rebuild our water system instead of complaining about when a $10,000 cost would be repaid we should be offering Mr Bell a bonus for his successes on behalf of the city.

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    • Posted by Bonus? BS on

      With all due respect to Mr Rose, there is no way should Kenny Bell get a bonus for anything. Contrary to what he would have you believe, it’s not a one-man show at the City.
      I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the revolving door at council is directly related to his bombastic bullying “leadership” style. Not to mention how personal and vindictive his decision-making is.
      And I’m sure he’ll get all kinds of bonuses in his new position. The old boys always look after their own.
      Good bye Kenny. So happy this guy is out. I

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    • Posted by This is bordering on corruption on

      The ex-mayor went on an all expense paid trip for a junket and all he had to do was part take on a panel? On my tax dollars, so absolutely not in a bonus. I pay high.enough taxes and you boost of the city budget? We are struggling home owners because of high taxes and water bills and you want this guy to have a bonus? The $200 plus million is to fix old pipes and any mayor would have gotten it. Some are so damn gullible.

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    • Posted by Fraudster on

      Bert made it clear, he’s okay with fraud. If Bert thinks Kenny shouldn’t have to pay back his city paid work trip, then nothing stops Bert paying for Kenny’s Iceland vacation by sending the city $9,500 check.

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    • Posted by Hmmm on

      Do you really think another mayor would have failed to obtain these resources? The issue here is not just a financial cost benefit analysis but it is also one of ethics, of someone disregarding their role as leader by boasting about punching a citizen, acting in a demeaning fashion toward citizens during last year’s contaminated water crisis and at other times, and now this little trip; the problem is an accumulation of behaviour that seems unethical. And people who are critical are afraid of speaking their mind publicly about fact based reasonable criticisms because they are afraid of the response; that is a problem too.

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    • Posted by fair lady on

      How about settlement for unjust treatment and miss behavior and harassment of few roten cityzen constantly wining and messing with the city mayor works ?
      May that be among the reasons he resing? If I was ask to get his job,I would refuse it considering the pagan mob outside city hall waiting with fork and brow outside to hang and poop on any new improvement made.

      • Posted by oh ima on

        if you chose a public life then be prepared for criticism and people wanting something done. Getting into politics takes a lot of guts and egos. I am not saying what he did was good but he should have a thick skin.

  7. Posted by Art Thompson on

    The real question I have is why did he not attend the conference?

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    • Posted by answered on

      The explanation on his twitter feed is that he had already decided to step down and decided he would rather pay back the trip costs as opposed to attending a single session to legitimize his attendance (and its associated expenses) only to step down the next week.

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      • Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on

        What a ridiculous explanation. If he knew he was going to resign beforehand, he should never have stepped on the plane! That’s what an ordinary common sense thinking person would do! Basic common sense is that you tell the CAO beforehand that you will be resigning soon, and therefore it wouldn’t make sense for you to attend the conference so please cancel the plane tickets and hotel etc.. That’s what normal and rational people do. What a sad and scandalous ending to a sad and scandalous tenure as Iqaluit Mayor.

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        • Posted by ashevak on

          by not providing the presentation, he stole the voice of Nunavut youth. This is unacceptable to me. If he didn’t want to take up space, he could have allowed for someone else from the city to go as a delegate and be the voice for Inuit youth! Sad, gross and unethical.

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          • Posted by Kenn Harper on

            Why not send a young person from Nunavut to be the voice of Nunavut youth?

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          • Posted by That Is Not His Lane on

            But Bell doesn’t represent Nunavut youth – why would you expect him to fill that role? He represents the city of Iqaluit.

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            • Posted by Ashevak on

              Whether you feel it’s his role or not – That is what he was there to do!

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    • Posted by 867 on

      Maybe he was taken away by the beautiful waterfalls he completely forgot about the conference. Hope he got lots of likes on his Twitter at least

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  8. Posted by G-man Choi on

    I would bet he just took the trip to get something out of horrible job he was in, he was lynched every time he tried to do anything, more than likely he just got sick of all the negative comments of him trying to do his job. I know he shouldn’t have taken the trip, but he was probably just giving the “middle finger” back to all the na sayers.
    Then I assume he grabbed the first job offer he got to get out of the limelight, I can’t wait to see the next genius who steps up to the plate. A lot of people here in Iqaluit think they are so much better and could do a better job. I can’t wait to see who jumps into the fire, because they are gonna burn.

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    • Posted by Too bad on

      He is getting what he gave. Do you not recall the way he treated the last mayor, employees at the GN, the senator? Others? This man is a bully . Sorry but he treated people very badly and he getting the compassion and understanding that he gave others which is not much.

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      • Posted by G-man Choi on

        Too Bad I have never dealt with Kenny personally or workwise, some people say he is a great guy and others hate him. I was just saying what I think he was doing as an opinion and we all have them. I honestly can’t wait to see who replaces him and see what they can do to stop all the nastiness about the job.

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  9. Posted by So on

    So you think Kenny is the first to take a gov. sponsored trip and not show up at the conference. Well having served in gov for over 30 year I know first hand it is not the first time and won’t be the last time a representative went out to a conference and never showed up or did show up drunk and disheveled with everyone wishing they had stayed in bed. What probably is the first however is he had the integrity to take account for his actions. How many of the previous offenders have done the same. I know of none. Give the guy some credit. Who would want to take any elected position anywhere in the world? Perhaps Mr. Trump and we all know the level of integrity that guy has.

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  10. Posted by Lynda on

    I am truly shocked with Mayor’s actions. I am also embarrassed for the community!
    How dare someone take taxpayer dollars to finance their own holiday. Glad he stepped down. Shocking, truly shocking!

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  11. Posted by Brandon on

    Maybe he sucker punched someone there too?

    Let’s Go Kenny!

  12. Posted by Burn Out on

    People do burn out. People need to talk about this matter and understand it better. Even people who work on a high level of energy do burn out for a period.
    He should still pay but time outs are very important.

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