Friday, September 30, 2011

BC Municipalities already audited

News item, September 29, 2011
"Municipal politicians voted overwhelmingly Thursday to tell the provincial government they don't want a Municipal Auditor-General's office...

"The local politicians said they’re already prohibited from running deficits, and they’re already audited every year..."
The following is from the article BC Liberals guided by hidden interests, published August 14, 2011:

Postmedia, CKNW and other partisan or naive commentators have been applauding the BC Liberal aim of creating a Municipal Auditor General. This is part of a strategy of distraction being developed to shift political attention from the BC Liberal government — the level with the real authority — to local councils, which, by no coincidence, are often influenced by NDP politicians.

The fact is that municipalities are already audited by independent experts. I know because long ago I often worked on municipal audits when I was employed with a firm of Chartered Accountants. In a bit of checking today, I noted that KPMG is the independent auditor for Vancouver City, Victoria and North Vancouver, among others. Audit reports are typically published on municipal websites.

The argument that a municipal Auditor General could ensure that best practices are being shared among municipalities is codswallop. Firms like KMPG already do that as part of the review of management practices. Although, the independent auditor's job is to cast an opinion of the municipal financial statements, the auditor goes through a very detailed examination of operations and offers many points of advice directly. The audit staff is highly experienced and knowledgeable of municipal operations and management.

Additionally, top municipal staff regularly attend conferences, such as those at the UBCM, where exchange of information and identification of best practices is the raison d'etre. A municipal Auditor-General could add nothing but bureaucratic duplication of services already provided.

In the next election, BC Liberals will pretend that economic problems in the province result from anti-business local governments, administrations so incompetent that a municipal Auditor-General became necessary.
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