City discusses AGLG 'in camera'. Here's why...
In an afternoon session on April 22, Council passed the financial plan after third reading; then went “in camera” for discussions related to the Auditor General for Local Government. What’s that for? Read on …
From the “Auditor General for Local Government Act” — I’ll just quote, because I couldn’t put it better myself:
Purpose and mandate
3 (1) The purpose of the auditor general is to conduct performance audits of the operations of local governments in order to provide local governments with objective information and relevant advice that will assist them in their accountability to their communities for the stewardship of public assets and the achievement of value for money in their operations.
In other words, the AGLG is there to help local governments improve their performance.
The Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG) appears, from the Act, to have the power to perform audits of any and all local governments, and to select which ones to audit at any time. It’s unclear to your reporter exactly how a local government becomes the subject of a performance audit — whether the local government itself seeks the assistance of the AGLG or whether the AGLG can also begin the audit process on the basis of “information received” from other sources — but once the decision is made, the AGLG has the power to compel a person to answer questions and to produce records or things. An uncooperative person can be held “in contempt” and sentenced accordingly.
During the AGLG’s work with a local government, neither the AGLG (including her staff) nor the local government are permitted to disclose the draft report, or the local government’s comments on the draft report. The local government may make public comments on the report only after the AGLG has released the report to the public. In order to be certain of compliance with the Act, all meetings and discussions relating to the AGLG’s work with this local government are being held in camera.
The report will be published.
The process is lengthy, so we may not see results for some time. When the report is finally complete, it will be published on the AGLG’s website, and anyone can access it. It may contain recommendations for the local government to implement changes in practice, but a local government is not obliged to follow the AGLG’s recommendations.
So far, no report on any local government has appeared on the AGLG website. At least, your reporter was unable to find any — if anyone else is able to, please help the rest of us find it too, by posting an informative comment!
Your reporter, exhausted by her researches, settled down to a game of Scrabble, hoping for seven-letter words and other unlikely instances of good luck.