Local government auditor feud intensifies

AGLG Basia Ruta rejects appointment of former deputy finance minister Chris Trumpy to review her performance

Basia Ruta

B.C.’s new Auditor General for Local Government has refused to take part in a performance review of her office by a former deputy minister appointed by her supervisors.

Basia Ruta, who became Canada’s first local government spending watchdog in 2013, has been under fire in the legislature in recent weeks after producing only one report in her first two years. For the second time in recent months, Ruta has retained her own lawyer in an effort to fend off attempts to examine her performance.

Thursday Ruta issued two more reports on municipal spending in Delta and Rossland, bringing the total to three. Her initial self-imposed target was 18 reports in the first year of operation, but she has since said she underestimated the diversity of B.C. local governments and the job of establishing a new office.

Ruta issued a statement Thursday calling the appointment of reviewer Chris Trumpy “unlawful,” and suggesting Trumpy’s potential bias and connections to the B.C. Liberal government would undermine her independence. That followed a lawyer’s letter to her supervisors, the five-member Audit Council who hired her, stating that B.C. Auditor General Carol Bellringer would be the only person impartial enough to review her.

Ruta said she is surprised the Audit Council chose Trumpy, a former deputy finance minister who now works as a consultant with former education minister George Abbott.

NDP local government critic Selina Robinson, who initially raised the issue of Ruta’s performance in the legislature, said Premier Christy Clark’s initiative from her leadership campaign has cost more than $5 million so far, and it isn’t working.

“It’s a mess, and the trail of that mess leads directly back to the Liberal government’s legislation that established the office that no one but the premier wanted in the first place,” Robinson said.

Ruta said in an interview Thursday that she has had good cooperation from local governments in comparing local government financial management, after initial objections from mayors and councillors.

The office now has “momentum” and will complete its first 18 reports by the end of this year, Ruta said.

 

Just Posted

Expect delays as Highway 1 widening in Langford begins this month

Year-long project to widen, add meridians between West Shore Parkway and Leigh Road

Ivy pull, beach clean-up targeted for McNeill Bay

Volunteers aim for big Saturday to restore McNeill Bay

VicPD investigates stabbing near Selkirk Montessori school

Victim in potentially life-threatening condition

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Most Read