Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Letter to the Editor on the Municipal Auditor Idea by Paul Brown

Auditor would bring transparency to city hall
Published: August 31, 2011 6:00 AM
Re: Municipal auditor plans questioned by mayors (News, Aug. 26)


It is a shame Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin so quickly dismisses the call for a municipal auditor general. Where would we be today without the valuable work of Sheila Fraser, the former federal auditor general who uncovered the sponsorship scandal?


Fortin suggests the job would be political. How can he say such a thing? Auditors general do not play politics, they offer insights on how to improve things.


I suspect where there is smoke, there is fire. Consider the closed nature of Victoria’s city hall, where many council items are decided in-camera, where records of individual councillors’ votes are rarely kept, where information is often only revealed by FOI requests, and where hand-picked committees advise staff in private meetings.


Our city hall is dangerously close to being run by a group of politicians and bureaucrats whose interests appear to be better served by the closed-door style of government than the needs of the taxpaying public.


Openness and transparency are an asset. An open city hall should be welcomed by the council and the administration. We can all learn from each other.


Mr. Fortin, consider what Jack Layton wrote the day before he died: “Hope is better than fear.”


Paul Brown


Victoria
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