In an official press release on November 7, 2012, Premier Christy Clark announced the appointment of the British Columbia’s first auditor general for local government (AGLG), Basia Ruta. MetroVanWatch welcomes Ms. Ruta to her post, and looks forward to possible reviews of local governments in the Metro Vancouver region. Below are selected points of the press release compiled with our own research, plus links to media coverage.
- Originally suggested by B.C. business groups, the AGLG will “conduct performance audits of local government services and provide recommendations about how to find efficiencies and improve the effectiveness of operations.”
- “The AGLG will help local governments identify the most efficient and effective ways to address the priorities that are important to B.C. communities and will bring greater affordability for families,” said Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Bill Bennett.
- A chartered accountant, Ruta has extensive experience working in the federal Office of the Auditor General, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, and as Environment Canada’s chief financial officer. Has over 30 years’ experience in both the public and private sectors, and valuable knowledge of local and regional governance gained in part by conducting audits of local government, hospital and community organizations.
- Ruta was selected and recommended for appointment following a nationwide search and rigorous selection process. She will begin her position at the AGLG’s Surrey office in January 2013.
- The AGLG will make non-binding recommendations based on performance audits and publicize best practices adopted by local governments. The AGLG will not question the merits of policy decisions or objectives of local governments.
- The AGLG’s term is for five years, with a maximum of two terms permitted.
- The AGLG is to be independent of the provincial government.
- The Globe and Mail article below states that the AGLG office will cost $2.6 million a year and speculates that if elected next year, the NDP government may try to scrap the whole thing.
- MetroVanWatch strongly supports the AGLG and believe the office can play a valuable function in helping municipal governments and regional governments be more efficient with taxpayers’ money. It is far too early for the NDP to think of scrapping it. Who knows what wonderful cost savings may be identified that could save billions. We urge voters to let the NDP know that you support the AGLG and tell them to let it do its work.
LINKS AND MEDIA COVERAGE
- B.C. appoints municipal auditor-general (Ian Bailey, Globe and Mail, 8-Nov-2012)
- B.C. appoints auditor to assess local governments (Vancouver Sun, 8-Nov-2012)
- BC Government news release (14-Feb-2012) Auditor General for Local Government back in the House
- Auditor General for Local Government Act in Bill form as it passed 3rd reading
- BC Government announcement (25-Apr-2012) on appointment of the Audit Council, listing members (Anthony Ariganello (chair), J. Richard Heney, Donalda MacDonald, Lisa Payne and Timothy J. Wood)