Editorial — Municipal A-G a step in right direction

Premier Christy Clark's announcement that a municipal auditor-general will be appointed is good news for taxpayers.

Premier Christy Clark’s announcement that a municipal auditor-general will be appointed is good news for taxpayers, and it could be helpful to municipalities as well, should they choose to adopt a conciliatory approach.

When Clark suggested this new office, many mayors and councillors condemned it, stating that their expenditures were already audited. This is disingenuous.

Yes, their books are audited‚ but a year-end audit by an accounting firm is far different from specific performance audits of specific programs. Year-end audits pronounce judgment on general financial management, and rarely single out specific programs. On rare occasions, auditors will include a note about a specific program that raises some questions, but it is not part of their job to follow up.

A municipal auditor-general should be able to follow up on some of those types of “flagged” issues, as well as issues that are raised by taxpayers. Some of these may revolve around specific programs, particularly ones where accountability is less than transparent.

The provincial auditor-general did a performance audit of Langley School District after a number of financial problems cropped up. He made several specific suggestions, and the board of education is trying to implement them.

This was a valuable service which, in the end, will serve taxpayers well, and will ensure the provision of education in Langley is managed better, from a financial perspective.

Both provincial and federal auditors-general have performed many such valuable services, and the small amount it costs to run their offices has been more than justified by the savings they have identified. It can be safely said that they are one of the very few branches of government with a mandate to try and save money for taxpayers.

If municipalities accept the reports and advice from the new municipal auditor-general, it could go a long way towards improving their financial management. It will also help them to be more accountable to taxpayers.

The new legislation being proposed has one major flaw. It does not give the new officer the power to audit TransLink, which is a separate corporation, albeit largely under the political oversight of Lower Mainland mayors.

TransLink spends a vast amount of taxpayers’ dollars and, in Langley at least, is providing minimal service for the dollars spent. There were suggestions in the municipal election campaign that TransLink needs to be restructured again. If that does take place,  there needs to be provision for either the provincial or municipal auditor-general to have the ability to regularly examine TransLink’s delivery of services to the public.

Just Posted

water
City begins community engagement for Mission Waterfront Revitalization Master Plan

Wants the community’s input to bring to life the vision outlined in the Official Community Plan

The Abbotsford International Airshow is back for 2021 with the ‘SkyDrive’ concept.
Abbotsford International Airshow returns for 2021 with ‘SkyDrive’

New format features a drive-in movie type experience, show set for Aug. 6 to 8

A young couple walks through the Othello Tunnels just outside of Hope. (Jessica Peters/Black Press)
Hope’s Othello Tunnels fully open to the public

Geological testing proved the area safe enough to open for the first time in more than a year

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

web
Father’s Day Parade planned for Mission

Classic vehicles from the 1920s to the 1970s will drive through Mission, Hatzic on June 20

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read