Vancouver’s new auditor general seeks $1.6 million budget

Mike McDonnell preparing audit plan for the new year to see which city departments, schedule

Vancouver’s new auditor general wants a $1.6 million budget to set up and run his office next year and will likely get it.

A city council committee consisting of Colleen Hardwick, Pete Fry, Sarah Kirby-Young, Rebecca Bligh and Michael Wiebe unanimously approved Mike McDonnell’s request on November 26 without debate.

The committee’s recommendation will now go before the full 11-member council on Wednesday as it works to finalize a total 2022 budget for the city by December 7 with the aim of keeping the property tax hike to five percent or less.

“It’s a cost we have to bring up,” Wiebe said during the meeting.

“So I would gladly support it and would be very interested to hear the conversation taking place in the council. This will be a very important dialogue identifying the zodiac [requested] And our current budget constraints. ,

Of the $1.6 million requested, about $1.3 million will pay for employees, with McDonnell planning to hire eight people in the new year. Senior staff will be on the job by February while operational and support roles are expected to be filled in March and April.

The rest of the budget will pay for contracted services ($235,000), support costs ($30,350) and training ($12,000). Despite the request, the city has yet to release McDonnell’s salary. Via.

McDonnell was appointed as the city’s first independent auditor general in August. His first day on the job was in September and he is working on an audit plan to go before council before the end of January.

The role of his office is to investigate the city’s spending and determine whether it provides value for the dollars spent – something he discussed in drafting his own $1.6 million budget, which he described as “transitional” for 2022, with an estimated $252,000 for 2023.

McDonnell notes that he works out of an annex west of City Hall, rather than renting a separate office. They also haven’t asked for a separate email server or secure file storage server. Had he not done so, he said, his “full force” budget request in 2023 would have been closer to $2.1 million instead of $1.8 million.

‘dirty tricks’

Hardwick expressed concern over McDonnell’s decision to use city servers.

“I wanted to hear more about IT configuration, because we live in an era of dirty tricks,” she asked McDonnell. “Can you elaborate a little bit more on that — why aren’t you being more protective?”

McDonnell said the city is moving away from rigid infrastructure or file storage and toward a cloud-based system. He added that files stored in the cloud would only be available to certain people within his office.

“It is cost-effective, it is compliant with privacy legislation and the cloud storage is entirely within Canada,” he said. “In this modern age it only makes sense that [information] Accessible from wherever the employees are working. ,

McDonnell acknowledged that such a move was “a leap of good faith” and could have led to the adoption of more secure file storage by adding a rigid file or server to his office.

“But I had to look at the cost and the potential risks,” he said. “I think the risk of inappropriate access can, quite frankly, be reduced through some audit procedures that I’m happy to have our employees.”

‘no interference’

McDonnell, a chartered accountant and certified fraud examiner, spent 23 years in the provincial office of the auditor general. He also worked on contract for the local government auditor general’s office, which closed permanently in March.

It is unclear how many audits his office will complete next year, with some councilors suggesting it could be one or two before the October 2022 election. But McDonnell made it clear in an interview with August Glacier Media That he will investigate whether the investigation will be done.

“I decide – me and I alone,” he said.

“Every audit will result in a public report. I will report what I find. and the Auditor General Recruitment Committee [of councillors] has made it absolutely clear that it is their expectation – that they want to hear what I have to say as an independent auditor, and will not interfere.”

mhowell@glaciermedia.ca

@Howellings

Leave a Reply