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

BIA floats idea of drive-through Santa Parade

If event goes ahead, ‘parade’ of cars would stream through fairgrounds

Fraser Health relocates Surrey COVID-19 testing centre

New location will triple testing capacity: Dr. Victoria Lee

Mother-daughter charged in 2017 torched-SUV killing in South Surrey now allowed contact

Judge grants Manjit Kaur Deo permission to connect with Inderdeep Kaur Deo through a lawyer

COVID-19 exposures reported at four more Surrey schools

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

PHOTOS: One injured in shooting on South Surrey-Langley border

Shots reported near 194 Street and 34 Avenue, burned-out vehicle found in 18100-block of 12 Avenue

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Man sentenced to 7 years for gas-and-dash death of Alberta gas station owner

Ki Yun Jo was killed after Mitchell Sydlowski sped off in a stolen cube van without paying for $198 of fuel

Machine pistol among 14 firearms seized from Alaska man at B.C. border crossing

Corey Scott Kettering faces charges of smuggling and prohibited firearm possession

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Altercation with gunfire in Lower Mainland lands two in hospital

Quiet area of Langley was awoken at 5 a.m. Friday morning to a fight involving gun shots

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read