Correspondence on the matter of the Auditor General for Local Governments

Correspondence is in order of communication.  These items were preceded by a phone to Mr. Tatchell’s office.   Items of correspondence are separated thus:

___________________________

From Mark Tatchell:

—–Original Message—–
From: Tatchell, Mark CSCD:EX
Sent: Friday, November 09, 2012 4:41 PM
To: ‘rlbolin@telus.net’
Subject: AGLG

Ron,

Thank you for your call earlier today. Look forward to receiving your
material in reference to the City of Nanaimo.

Regards,

Mark

Mark Tatchell
250 217-8816
______________________

To Mark Tatchell:
—– Original Message —–
From: Ron Bolin [mailto:rlbolin@telus.net]
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2012 02:57 PM
To: Tatchell, Mark CSCD:EX
Subject: Re: AGLG

Thanks for the email Mark. The mystery of the failure of my email to you is
solved. This is what I got from my MLA’s office:

Dear Mr. Bolin,

The New Auditor General for Local Government is Basia Ruta but the office
will not open until mid January. In the meantime the person to call is Mark
Patchel (sic)l, Project Director for Implementation,
250-217-8816.

Yours truly,
____________________________
To: Mark Tatchell:
The RFP which was recently let by the City of Nanaimo in this regard can be
found at: http://www.nanaimo.ca/bid_opportunities/bid_details.aspx?id=719

My correspondence with our Mayor and Council on this matter was:

__________

Mayor Ruttan and Councillors:

Nanaimo City Staff, with your sanction, recently released a Request for
Proposals (RFP) for what is in effect an audit of our City’s Governance with
a closing date later this month and a project start date of January 1, 2013.

It is striking that Jan. 1, 2013, is also the date on which our recently
appointed provincial auditor for municipalities is to start her work. It
would seem to this taxpayer to be prudent to attempt to acquire these new
services for our municipality rather than paying twice for the same type of
advice. Is there some reason that we are in such a hurry to send this
contract to a “private” consultant?

From the new municipal auditor’s point of view Nanaimo would make an
excellent choice as it presents the opportunity to examine a middle size
city facing hundreds of millions of dollars in upcoming infrastructure costs
and which has already for some years raised costs to its taxpayers at rates
well above the cost of living index. At the same time, it is not the worst
actor in either situation. Nanaimo also has a capable and well paid
management staff to provide the necessary materials for the audit, to assist
the auditor and to see that our interests are promoted.

Rather than paying twice for this service, once for our audit, as well as
over and over for the audits of others, why do we not avail ourselves of
this unique opportunity to utilize available municipal audit services and at
the same time set an example to the province for their use? Please advise of
your reasoning in this matter.

Thanking you for your prompt consideration, I remain,

Ron Bolin

_____________________________
The response from our Mayor was:

Hi Ron,

In my opinion, these are two separate issues. The Province of BC has engaged
an individual to ensure that municipalities are in total compliance with all
policies and requirements provincially mandated. We expect that they may
well arrive unannounced and ask to see our records. Essentially they are
primarily interested in possible non-compliance on our part of provincial
requirements.

The RFP that we recently released seeks to find an individual or company who
will facilitate a series of meetings with Council to update us on current
governance issues and to also provide us with new knowledge to ensure that
the City of Nanaimo is compliant on all matters related to governance.

The Provincial Auditor will be paid by and accountable only to Victoria, and
while we assume that they may assist us to some extent, their primary
responsibility is to uncover non-compliance, and clearly not to provide
training.

Regards,

Mayor John Ruttan

____________________________

To: Mark Tatchell

Please advise whether the assertion by the Mayor of the manner in which the
AGLG’s office will operate is correct.

Thanks,

Ron Bolin

_____________________________

From Mark Tatchell:

Thank you for your email Ron and I am glad we were able to make contact.

The AGLG is empowered to conduct performance audits of local governments. The performance audits will assess whether a local government is economically, efficiently and effectively delivering services and conducting its operations. And the AGLG will look for best practices among local governments and publicize those best practice.

Performance audits are not financial audits (which local governments undergo annually) and nor are they compliance audits. Compliance audits typically examine whether an agency (or government) has adhered to required policies and procedures. If Mayor Ruttan believes that the AGLG will be conducting compliance audits, I would be pleased to clarify the AGLG’s role and mandate for His Worship.  Moreover, once Ms. Ruta begins her tenure, it might be useful for her to meet with His Worship and members of Nanaimo council to explain her mandate, priorities and approach.

I hope this response helps to shed a bit of light on the AGLG. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance. Moreover, please feel free to share this response.

Regards,

Mark

Mark Tatchell
250 217-8816

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