The B.C. government has appointed a committee to select and oversee its new auditor general for local government, and the minister responsible says controversy over the move seems to have subsided.
Community, Sport and Culture Minister Ida Chong said criticism of the move last year was a result of “confusion” about how the new auditor would operate.
“It’s not about finding fault, not about imposing new rules,” Chong said as she introduced the audit committee members. “It’s about helping to find efficiencies.”
Chong said local government representatives have seen the enabling legislation and now understand that auditor will be independent of the B.C. government and its recommendations will not be binding.
While some municipal leaders were suspicious, one the early advocates of the new office was Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard. He said he learned the value of performance audits before entering politics, when he ran three tire stores that are part of a national chain of 300 outlets.
Auditors were able to answer questions such as “why were my fleet costs in Langford so much higher than what it was in West Kelowna?” Leonard said.
The audit committee is chaired by Anthony Ariganello, president of the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada.
Other members are Rick Heney, a Kamloops lawyer; Donalda MacDonald, a vice-president of Westminster Savings Credit Union; Lisa Payne, chief operating officer for software maker Colligo Networks; and Tim Wood, former municipal administrator for Saanich, Penticton and Cranbrook.
The committee’s first task is to advertise the position and hire a local government auditor.