Our View: Oversight plan could work here

Last week’s announcement that the province would create a municipal auditor general department is good news for taxpayers around the province.

Any move to make our public bodies more accountable, even at the civic level, is a way to help ensure that they follow a closer path to the private sector when it comes to keeping expenses in check.

Last week’s announcement that the province would create a municipal auditor general department is good news for taxpayers around the province.

Any move to make our public bodies more accountable, even at the civic level, is a way to help ensure that they follow a closer path to the private sector when it comes to keeping expenses in check.

Liberal cabinet minster and Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong said the oversight body would be good for small municipalities – those with 5,000 residents or less – that don’t have the resources to undertake such audits.

But there is a real opportunity for a municipal auditor general to inspect the spending habits in larger jurisdictions such as Saanich and Victoria, and even mid-sized municipalities such as Langford, Oak Bay and Esquimalt.

From constant increases in commercial and residential property tax by more than the rate of inflation and a shocking rise in six-figure administrator salaries to eyebrow-raising benefits given to union employees – emergency services personnel and otherwise – there are plenty of expenditures and decisions on which taxpayers would love to get an outside opinion.

Taking the work of the provincial auditor-general as an example, it’s clear such bodies have no legislative powers. What they do have, however, is the ability to make public any discrepancies or inappropriate expenditures, which ultimately fall on the shoulders of the politicians who gave them final approval.

The threat of having their actions publicly criticized will hopefully provide enough motivation to prompt our elected officials, as well as the employees who are guided by their decisions, to take a closer look at how they spend taxpayers’ money.

Navel-gazing is never a bad thing. And at a time when the public will be faced with helping pay for an LRT system, sewage treatment and a new Johnson Street bridge, the status quo just isn’t good enough.

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Susan Simmons begins a 24-hour swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

The MS Athlete and ultra-marathon swimmer wants to be the first person to make the journey

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

PHOTOS: Tour de Victoria takes off

1,800 cyclists took off in the Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria for a city-wide loop

Veteran Saanich councillor Vicki Sanders won’t seek re-election

‘Council is becoming more complicated,’ says Coun. Leif Wergeland

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Longtime broadcaster joins race for Saanich council

Ian Jessop says he wants to bring support to Mayor Richard Atwell around council table

BREAKING: Evacuation order issued in Island village due to “risk of falling debris”

Several homes in Zeballos are under an evacuation order as wildfires continue… Continue reading

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Most Read