City report card looking grim for Rossland

City report card looking grim for Rossland

Auditor General for Local Government has published her findings and the City of Rossland needs to take some urgent steps.

  • May. 1, 2014 10:00 a.m.

The Auditor General for Local Government has published her findings, and there is certainly room for improvement for Rossland.

The document wasn’t intended for publication until reports of all five local municipalities were ready later in 2014, but it was rushed to release because of “serious, unresolved issues… that require urgent and prompt steps by the City of Rossland.”

During their investigation into the requested arena roof replacement project, enough concerns were raised that an additional six projects, all between 2010 and 2012, were audited.

The report concluded that, in addition to the conflict of interest and unauthorized cost overruns of the arena project, all of the audited undertakings suffered from:

 

•    Failure to follow City’s own procurement policies

 

•    Lack of documentation of key project information

 

•    Payments made without contracts in place

 

•    Insufficient oversight of council on expenditures and project amendments

 

While the AGLG claims to have been created “to strengthen British Columbians’ confidence in their local governments’ stewardship of public assets and the achievement of value for money in their operations,” Rossland Mayor Greg Granstrom feels they fell short of this goal.

Rossland invited the auditor to assist in identifying system improvements as a result of what occurred with its former building inspector.

In return, the city received a detailed audit that not only highlighted alleged missteps with the arena project but also criticized the implementation and performance of six additional projects.

“We all need help but we don’t need to get poked in the eye when we ask for it,” he said. “I think this information could have been presented in a more constructive manner.”

He’s referring to the scathing report that concludes city staff did not adequately protect the interests of its taxpayers, backing up this claim mostly by noting the city did not get value for its money on the Rossland Arena roof repairs.

This is not new information for Rossland, which is in the midst of suing its former building inspector in hopes of recovering unaccountable funds from that project.

The City did not expect a strain on resources to complete this audit, which Granstrom said equated to about two months of work for two staff members.

“The written response we received from council on April 22 was very positive,” Basia Ruta, chief auditor for the AGLG, retorted. “We were told they were thankful, and that it had been a positive learning experience that will lead to improvement and growth.” When asked about the use of local resources, Ruta responded, “A typical audit such as this takes over a year and we completed it in nine months. The seriousness of our findings, a dearth of documents and lack of access to decision makers naturally resulted in more time and effort on our parts.”

Finally, in response to the suggestion that the report could have been more constructive, Ruta stated, “We understand that audits are not easy things for people to deal with. We work with transparency and professional rigour, as is our mandate. We wanted the City to recognize fundamental gaps in their system, but we also want other municipalities to see what could happen when certain policies are not in place.”

Rossland has crafted an action plan which addresses many of the concerns outlined in the report. Council and city staff  have been implementing these changes for the past two years.

The office of the AGLG is pleased with the action plan that council presented in response to their findings, and recognizes that a serious effort is currently being made to address deficiencies.

– with files from the Trail Times

Just Posted

Photo: Trail Times
Trail RCMP start June by nabbing impaired drivers

Latest brief from the Trail and Greater District police

“This is very costly to replace and it seems that Rossland is getting more and more theft and vandalism happening, which is really unfortunate,” says the commission’s Michelle Fairbanks. Photo: Submitted
Two plaques stolen from Rossland heritage square

The plaques were located at Washington and Columbia by the Olaus statue

No matter your age, the city’s two skate park hosts Jaryd Justice-Moote (left) and Brenden Wright can help you roll into a new pastime this “Summer at the Skatepark.” Photo: City of Trail
Free coaching at the Trail Sk8Park begins next month

The city is rolling into a summer of inclusive recreation by, for… Continue reading

Pastor Tom Kline
‘Why I became a Christian’ with Pastor Tom Kline

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also… Continue reading

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters begin 24-hour blockade of Castlegar’s main street

Members of Extinction Rebellion plan to stay overnight

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read