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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island College hosting nursing info session

Info sessions will take place Monday, Jan. 27 at Port Alberni and Campbell River campuses

Photographer captures Port Alberni personalities in black and white portraits

Meet John Douglas, Courtney Naesgaard in double exhibit Jan. 18 at Rollin Art Centre

Alberni Valley Community Foundation opens grant application process for 2020

Nearly $30K available for Port Alberni-based charities

Stray cat with ‘serious burns’ recovering at Alberni SPCA

The BC SPCA’s Alberni-Clayoquot branch is asking members of the public for help with medical costs

B.C. government puts kibosh on drag racing at Alberni Valley Regional Airport

AVDRA was hopeful for a three-year temporary contract to race at the airport

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Most Read