Auditor General reviews constituency office spending for MLAs and cabinet ministers12 January 2012
FREDERICTON (CNB) – Constituency office spending for members of the legislative assembly and members of executive council was scrutinized in Auditor General Kim MacPherson's latest report, released today.
The objective of her review was to determine whether constituency office spending were adequately supported and authorized. The review focused on practices and procedures that have been in place for successive governments over many years.
MacPherson concluded there are appropriate practices and procedures in place for the portion of constituency office costs paid by the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. However, she expressed concerns that some departments, which also pay a portion of constituency office expenses, were unable to provide complete information about their minister's constituency office expenses. To address the deficiencies the auditor general recommended that all constituency office costs, including those for ministers, be paid by the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.
MacPherson also found that public reporting of constituency office expenses is incomplete. Only the portion paid by the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly is made public. Expenses paid by departments on behalf of their minister are combined with total department spending. The Auditor General recommended that all constituency office costs be clearly reported in order to improve public accountability.
The Auditor General also looked at what happens to constituency office furniture and equipment of departing MLAs. Currently, departing MLAs are given the first option of buying their constituency office furniture and equipment at net book value, which is often a low percentage of the original purchase price. MacPherson recommended the rules be revisited as they may not provide the best financial result for the province.
The Auditor General's 2011 report contains three volumes; Volume I on Provincial Wastewater Commissions was previously tabled in October 2011.Volume II focuses on matters arising from the annual financial audit of the province and Crown agencies. Volume III reports the results of Value for Money Projects completed during 2011. All three volumes are available on the Auditor General website.
● Office of the Auditor General: www.gnb.ca/oag-bvg