Auditor General for Local Government answers Rossland's call for audit
The newly instated Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG), Basia Ruta, has seen Rossland city council’s smoke signal and added it to the long list of municipalities that will receive a performance audit from her office. This comes as welcome news to many, including Councillor Kathy Moore, whose motion it was to ask for the audit back at the end of January.
“I am very pleased to hear this recent announcement that they will be auditing our tendering, contracting and reporting of capital projects,” Moore said. “Our motion to them asked for a number of other areas to be looked at but at this time, they are focusing on just the capital projects bit.”
At the time of the original motion, there was concern expressed by Councillor Blomme about any extra cost that might be incurred by the city to have the AGLG perform the audit. Councillors Fisher, Thatcher, and Wallace were in favour of conducting an in-house investigation into the city’s procurement policies instead, stating that the time line for this audit would take too long. However, it was resolved that there would be no extra cost to Rossland taxpayers, and that in-house investigations will be necessary and complimentary to a performance audit by the AGLG.
Since that discussion, Mayor Greg Granstrom has formed a committee, consisting of himself and councillors Blomme, Thatcher, and Fisher to assess the delegation bylaw. At the May 13th council meeting, Fisher proposed a motion to set up a task force of council volunteers, to be paired with CAO-appointed staff, to examine the current procurement and purchasing policies. Fisher and Moore volunteered. At this time both projects are ongoing.
Referring to past project budgets, Councillor Moore stated, “I like facts. I understand there are changes in scope along the way, I understand that cost overruns can be expected, but if those things are not disclosed, there is unlikely to be much learning gleaned from the experience. Nor are we practicing open and transparent governance.”
When asked about what she hoped the result of the audit will be, Councillor Moore said, “I am a big fan of learning from the past and constantly striving to improve. In a nutshell, I hope that will be the result of the audit.”
KPMG has been contracted to assist the AGLG’s office on the topics of capital procurement projects and asset management programs, which are the focus of Rossland’s performance audit.