Vancouver’s new auditor general wants $1.6 million budget

Mike Macdonell making ready audit plan for new 12 months on what metropolis departments, packages to look at

Vancouver’s new auditor general wants a $1.6 million budget to arrange and run his workplace subsequent 12 months and he’ll doubtless get it.

A metropolis council committee comprised of Colleen Hardwick, Pete Fry, Sarah Kirby-Yung, Rebecca Bligh and Michael Wiebe unanimously accepted Mike Macdonell’s request Nov. 26 with out a lot debate.

The committee’s advice will now go earlier than your complete 11-member council Wednesday as it really works to finalize the general 2022 budget for town by Dec. 7, with the goal of protecting a property tax hike at 5 per cent or much less.

“It goes to be a price that we will need to deliver on,” Wiebe stated in the course of the assembly.

“So I can be fortunately supporting this and be very to listen to the conversations that can occur at council. This can be a vital dialogue, recognizing the sum of money  [requested] and our present budget constraints.”

Approximately $1.3 million of the $1.6 million request can pay for employees, with Macdonell planning to rent eight folks within the new 12 months. Senior employees can be in place by February and operational and help roles are anticipated to be stuffed in March and April.

The the rest of the budget can pay for contracted providers ($235,000), help prices ($30,350) and coaching ($12,000). The metropolis has but to launch Macdonell’s wage, regardless of requests from VI.A.

Macdonell was appointed in August as town’s first-ever unbiased auditor general. His first day on the job was in September and he’s engaged on an audit plan to go earlier than council earlier than the top of January.

His workplace’s function is to analyze town’s spending and decide whether or not it gives worth for {dollars} spent — one thing he mentioned in drafting his personal $1.6 million budget, which he described as “transitional” for 2022, with one other $252,000 anticipated for 2023.

Macdonell famous he works out of metropolis corridor’s west annex as a substitute of renting a separate workplace. He has additionally not requested for a separate electronic mail server or safe file storage server. Had he not achieved this, he stated, his “full power” budget request in 2023 would have been nearer to $2.1 million, as a substitute of $1.8 million.

‘Dirty tips’

Hardwick raised issues over Macdonell’s choice to make use of town’s servers.

“I wished to listen to extra concerning the IT configuration, since we do reside in an period of soiled tips,” she requested Macdonell. “Could you elaborate on that a bit bit extra — why are you not being extra protecting?”

Macdonell stated town is transferring away from hardened infrastructure or file storage and is transferring in the direction of a cloud-based system. He stated recordsdata saved within the cloud will solely be accessible to sure folks inside his workplace.

“It’s value efficient, it is in compliance with privateness laws and the cloud storage is solely inside Canada,” he stated. “It simply is sensible on this fashionable period that [information] may be accessed from wherever employees occur to be working.”

Macdonell acknowledged such a transfer was  “a little bit of a leap of excellent religion” and that he may have adopted safer file storage by including a hardened file or server proper in his workplace.

“But I had to have a look at the prices and the potential dangers,” he stated. “I feel the danger of inappropriate entry may be mitigated by way of, fairly frankly, a little bit of audit procedures that I’m very happy to have my employees undertake.”

‘No interference in anyway’

Macdonell, a chartered accountant and licensed fraud examiner, spent 23 years within the provincial workplace of the auditor general. He additionally labored on contract for the workplace of the Auditor General for Local Government, which completely closed in March.

It’s not clear what number of audits his workplace will full subsequent 12 months, with some councillors suggesting it could possibly be one or two earlier than the October 2022 election. But Macdonell made it clear in an August interview with Glacier Media that he’ll name the photographs on what will get examined.

“I resolve — me and me alone,” he stated.

“Every audit will end in a public report. I’ll report what I discover. And the auditor general recruitment committee [of councillors] has made it solely clear that that is their expectation — that they need to hear what I’ve to say as an unbiased auditor, and that there can be no interference in anyway.”

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