MPPs urge NPCA to withdraw itsr controversial bid to seek an auditor
An Open Letter, dated March 27th, 2017, from St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley, Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster, Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates and Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MPP Paul Miller
Posted March 28th, 2017 on Niagara At Large
Here is the letter in full –
On behalf of the communities we represent in the Region, we urge the NPCA to withdraw the Request for Proposal (RFP) issued at last week’s board meeting and instead reconsider the Ontario Auditor General’s offer to conduct a financial audit of the board, a course of action that we believe would go a long way in restoring our respective communities’ faith in their local public conservation authority.
As you know, the Auditor General is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly who is responsible for ensuring that public dollars are used appropriately by the province’s ministries and agencies.
Mandated to work at arm’s length, the Auditor General ensures that citizens receive value for public dollars. We are deeply concerned that the NPCA’s decision to decline the Auditor General’s offer to conduct a financial audit of the NPCA free of charge adds an unnecessary financial burden to our respective municipalities.
Furthermore, there is the troubling possibility that the refusal to accept this offer of support from a trusted, impartial third-party that specializes in such services could further undermine the principals of transparency and accountability that we all share and are bound to uphold in our respective roles as public servants.
This appeal is further underscored by our review of the fine print of the RFP as considered at the Board’s March 8th meeting. The motion ordering the NPCA sanctioned review was a stark departure from the eight motions brought forward by the Region’s municipal councils in previous months and failed to adequately reflect the concerns tabled by our local representatives.
We are troubled by the removal of the term ‘fiscal financial audit’ from the RFP’s parameters which, as you know, differs considerably from a financial audit or an operational review.
But what is even more troubling is the perception that the terms of the RFP lack the wording required to assure that the public will receive a complete picture of the Board’s activity. These particular omissions are not helpful in ensuring transparency, accountability, nor are they helpful in restoring public trust.
Lastly, we understand that a subsequent motion was passed at a St. Catharines City Council meeting last week that seeks to immediately withdraw the City’s funding to the NPCA in response to the Board’s recent action on the RFP. It is a real concern that other municipalities may decide to follow suit with similar actions of non-confidence, unnecessarily disrupting funding that the NPCA relies on to serve the citizens of the Region.
In light of these developments, it is our hope that you will immediately withdraw the RFP tabled at the last NPCA board meeting and instead agree to the assistance of the Auditor General of Ontario –
a decision that is not only fiscally responsible, but would considerably help the efforts underway to restore public trust in the NPCA.
|Sincerely: Cindy Forster, MPP
|Paul Miller, MPP
Hamilton East – Stoney Creek
|Wayne Gates, MPP
|James (Jim) Bradley, MPP
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