While the auditor general for local government will not be a catch all for every municipal issue, it will be a useful resource, said the new municipal watchdog.
Basia Ruta was named as the province's first AGLG in November and officially opened her Surrey office Thursday morning with Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Bill Bennett.
"I very much see my role as a resource and a support for local government," said Ruta, a chartered accountant with previous financial and auditing experience in both the public and private sector. She was selected for the position by an independent audit council, comprised of five professionals from across the province. The AGLG will serve a five-year term.
"The task that lies ahead is important," Ruta said. "Taxpayers want to be sure they're getting value for their tax dollars at every level, including the local government level. And local governments want to deliver value, they want to make sure their practices are efficient and cost effective."
Ruta and her staff will select audit topics and prepare reports on best practices. She said the work of the AGLG is not the same as the usual financial audits municipalities already undertake, nor is it to question their policy decisions.
Rather, the office will focus on making sure local governments are getting the most bang for their buck.
"The operation or project we're looking at, has that been managed with due regard to efficiency, economy and effectiveness. Are the results being achieved and how much has it cost the local community to get those results? And are the results in line with the stated intent of the program?" Ruta explained.
She will spend the next few weeks meeting with local government officials and said she hopes to get her first audit underway by April 30.
Bennet called the opening of the office exciting and said that it was a "significant step toward more local government transparency and accountability."
Information collected by the office will be available online at www.aglg.ca.