The following was released to SaultOnline.com from the Sault Ste. Marie Association of Ratepayers.
Dear Fellow Ratepayers, The Sault Ste. Marie Association of Ratepayers acts to: ●Lobby local government on issues of concern to their members and/or ●Disseminate information on local government issues to their members to ensure awareness. The SSM Association of Ratepayers would like to bring attention to the following topic for public discussion.
What can a Municipal Auditor General do for our City? The Auditor General is responsible for assisting Council in holding itself and its administrators accountable for the quality of stewardship over public funds and for achievement of value for money in municipal operations.
The Auditor General oversees the proper spending of our tax dollars. Although an Auditor General is appointed by Council, they are directed by legislation to perform their responsibilities in an independent manner. Auditor Generals deal with Councils and also local boards, municipally-controlled corporations and grant recipients who receive funds directly or indirectly from the municipality, a local board or a municipally-controlled corporation. An Auditor General is not required to be a municipal employee. Indeed, we believe it is better if the Auditor General is independent of the municipality. The municipality, local boards, municipal corporations and grant recipients are directed by legislation to provide the Auditor Generals with information regarding their powers, duties, activities, organization, financial transactions and methods of business, as necessary.
The Auditor General is entitled to free access to books, accounts, financial records, electronic data processing records, reports and files. An Auditor General can examine persons under oath. The information he/she receives is confidential until his/her report. This section prevails over the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. So what does this mean for the taxpayer? A couple of years ago the Auditor General of Canada announced that some Senators were charging personal expenses to the government and thereby the taxpayers of the country.
A Sault Ste. Marie Auditor General is that person on a municipal level. An Auditor General for Sault Ste. Marie would report on the spending of our tax dollars. City Council, local boards, municipally-controlled corporations and grant recipients would be independently evaluated with regard to the value of the money spent in municipal operations. What would these reports do for you? They inform us how our governing body is performing and ensure that we are getting value for our tax dollars. Having an Auditor General can cut waste and duplication and maintain best practices leading to value for dollar in municipal spending. What is your opinion?
Would an Auditor General be a good idea for the Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie? Please contact the Sault Ste. Marie Association of Ratepayers via email with your thoughts and concerns. Sincerely, SSM Association of Ratepayers