City not concerned about audit

B.C.’s auditor general for local government has released an audit on Vernon’s purchase of goods and services

Vernon officials insist financial procedures are in order despite a provincial audit.

B.C.’s auditor general for local government has released an audit on the city’s purchase of goods and services from 2010 to 2012.

“It’s a report on what happened three years ago and what ever was lacking, the city has closed the gaps,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.

“I have no concerns about the procurement process.”

The audit states that while the city has worked to improve the procurement process, eight of 25 transactions tested showed non-compliance with city policies. Among them were inappropriate expense approvals.

“One of the expenditures was for the purchase of an airplane ticket for the then-mayor to attend a provincial political party event. In our view, it is not appropriate for such a purchase to be made using a City of Vernon procurement card,” states the report.

“Staff told us this expense was reimbursed by a local company but the city did not provide us with evidence to support this assertion. In addition, the company that staff told us reimbursed this expense was one of the city’s vendors. While the city did only a small amount of business with this company during the period covered by the audit, such a reimbursement by a vendor could create real or perceived issues relating to conflict of interest.”

Another breach of policies, according to the AGLG, was a city department issuing a $35,000 purchase order to a vendor in 2011 without the purchasing services department being involved. There also wasn’t a written contract.

The AGLG found that council between 2010 and 2012 allowed staff to handle procurement.

“While it is council’s prerogative to delegate purchasing authority to staff and we do not suggest that council should be directly involved in procurement activities, we would have expected council, in addition to its existing oversight of the budgeting process, to exercise effective oversight over procurement activities by balancing the extensive authority it has delegated to the chief administrative officer with requirements for clear and comprehensive reporting to council,” states the report.

The AGLG has made a number of recommendations to the City of Vernon over procurement.

Current council was elected in 2011 and CAO Will Pearce took up his duties in June 2012.

“A lot of it (in the audit) is from two administrations ago,” said Mayor Akbal Mund.

“The city has changed its procurement process. You have to take it (audit) at face value and say, ‘What is it like today at the city?’”

The city says it has moved to a centralized purchasing environment, and implemented electronic purchase orders and document scanning of paid invoices and council monitors budget activities.

The auditor’s recommendations will be studied by council and staff.

“We will look at it and there’s always room for improvement. There’s nothing wrong with an outside auditor taking a look at what you do,” said Mund.

Then-mayor Rob Sawatzky volunteered the city to participate in the provincial government’s local government audit process in 2012.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lindsay Palmateer, a Salmon Arm mother of six, succumbed to her injuries after a serious crash Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, south of Enderby. (Contributed)
‘She was everyone’s caretaker’: Salmon Arm mother of six remembered

GoFundMe campaign exceeds goal already for family involved in deadly crash near Enderby

Canadian author Paul Young, who wrote the critically acclaimed novel, the Shack, will join Vernon-based foundation, the Emily Dahl Foundation, for a Fireside Chat event in June 2021. (YouTube)
Bestselling author to be keynote presenter at Vernon event

The Shack author Paul Young to join with Emily Dahl Foundation for summer Fireside Chat

The Vernon Winter Carnival Society, in conjunction with the Stor-it Place, will award two $500 scholarships to a pair of Grade 12 students. (Morning Star - file photo)
Vernon Winter Carnival offers up scholarships

Two Grade 12 students can win $500 scholarships in conjunction with Carnival and The Stor-it Place

North Okanagan Minor Hockey Association coach Rory Taber (left) accepts donations of new equipment for some local players from former NHL player Jason Podollan and his Up My Hockey brand, courtesy of Bauer Hockey. (Photo submitted)
Ex-NHLer sets up North Okanagan kids with new gear

Jason Podollan teams up with Bauer Hockey to help out some worthy families with new hockey equipment

The exhibit is set to open on Nov. 13. (File)
UBCO recieves $1.9M for cleantech hub

UBCO campus will help develop and commercialize clean technologies and create up to 50 well-paying jobs

Brett Forsythe battles it out in a game of singles pickleball on ice at Okanagan Training Rink Thursday, Jan. 7 in support of the Vernon Food Bank. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Pickleball play hits the ice in Okanagan

Rivals battle it out in support of the food bank

A rendering of the proposed development, called 2020, adjacent to other currently underway projects in the area. (Contributed)
Proposed 46-storey tower dubbed ‘2020’ would be Kelowna’s tallest building

The building was proposed two days after council approved a 42-storey tower on Leon Avenue

  RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
‘Dangerous situation’ inside busy Kelowna store prompts police presence

27-year-old man apprehended after threatening to harm himself inside store

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

City of Salmon Arm Coun. Chad Eliason goes public with the information he went to Mexico over Christmas. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm councillor travels to Mexico over Christmas holiday

Politician says he regrets decision and didn’t consider the ramifications

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna Mountie transferred, fined after pointing gun at another officer

Const. Kristine Roesler argued she handled the gun safely and did it in the spirit of ‘dark humour’

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

Most Read