As a tax payer I personally don’t have a problem with the idea of establishing an office of the Municipal Auditor General.
I would even argue that establishing the Municipal Auditor General is a necessity and should be done sooner, rather than later.
Decisions are made on behalf of municipal taxpayers by an elected few based on their promises to represent the taxpaying public’s best interests, so what could possibly be wrong with ensuring public funds are spent wisely?
While establishing an office of the Municipal Auditor General may cost tax payers at a provincial level, it will also work to save tax payers money closer to home, at a municipal level.
If mayor and council are doing their job as elected, this is something municipal politicians should be striving for anyway and they should not have anything to worry about when they are audited.
A Municipal Auditor General would, no doubt serve in the best interests of all municipal tax payers who do have the right to know how much is being spent, where and why.
This is why I was left scratching my head when Village of Burns Lake mayor Bernice Magee said that as a tax payer, she would have to question the benefits of adding the role. After all it was clear to me that the most obvious benefit of the Municipal Auditor General would be to municipal tax payers.
Municipal finances should be closely monitored, as should any money coming from a public purse, and if it takes another watchdog to do the job then so be it.
Why would councillors not want an audit that highlighted areas where money could be saved?
As a taxpayer I would like these areas not only highlighted, but circled with a red pen and acted upon.
I think it would also be wise if the office of the Municipal Auditor General had authority over other municipally owned entities, such as the Burns Lake Community Forest.
This is one of the considerations for the office under the terms of reference as proposed. If the office goes ahead as proposed, the Village of Burns Lake owned, Comfor Management Services Ltd., (CMSL) that oversee the Burns Lake Community Forest would definitely be audited.
This is something that many local community members have requested and something that is certainly in the best interests of local tax payers. Clearly, current measures for accountability and cost saving measures are not working when in the past millions of dollars in bad investments by past board members of CMSL have been made …. who has been held accountable for these decisions? Why were these decisions made?
These are questions many tax payers ask, but never really receive answers to, other than the investments were made in a bid to diversify interests.
The office of the Municipal Auditor General would serve to hold local governments and their entities more accountable and this is something that is probably a little unsettling for municipalities who are used to running the show on their own terms.
There is already a Provincial Auditor General …. so why not an auditor general at a municipal level?
I for one say, bring it on and if you agree let mayor and council know.