VICTORIA – A damning internal government review shows while the B.C. Liberals’ Auditor General for Local Government wasted more than $5 million, the office has struggled to set priorities and address deteriorating staff morale.
“Based on this report, I doubt the office of the Auditor General for local Government itself could pass a value for money audit, “said New Democrat leader John Horgan. “The premier’s pet project has already gone off the rails, and cost taxpayers far more than it has saved them.”
Premier Christy Clark promised British Columbians that the agency would help local governments improve their internal operations practices and save taxpayers money. Unlike the independent provincial auditor general, the AGLG reports to a government-appointed council and is directly accountable to the minister.
According to a leaked report entitled Auditor General Local Government 2015 Work Environment Review, produced by the Director of Strategic Human Resources in the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development in January, the office is in complete chaos.
“Reading through this report, it is clear there is almost no support for the auditor’s leadership,” said New Democrat spokesperson on local government Selina Robinson.
“It’s clear that the B.C. Liberals had no idea what they were getting into in creating this office. After 2 years of effort and $5.2 million in costs, the office is still wrestling with issues that should have been addressed in the first month of operation”.
“Minister Oakes needs to take responsibility for this fiasco,” said Robinson.
On March 3, New Democrats challenged Oakes to answer why the office had spent $5.2 million dollars and only produced the first half of a single audit.
The leaked report’s observations include:
- A lack of clear direction on objectives and priorities is causing wasted work and effort;
- Management has not determined what skills and professional qualifications staff require;
- 78% of staff were dissatisfied with the organization and 78% of staff had a negative view of executive management.