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TNRD creates website page for forensic audit

The page includes links to BDO Canada’s presentation of the audit, a redacted version of the forensic audit report and the regional district’s response, including an update on how it is responding to 65 recommendations
TNRD boardroom

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has launched a new landing page on its website, with the goal of increasing transparency in the wake of the forensic audit.

A forensic audit recently wrapped up into past spending at the regional district under former CAO Sukh Gill, who left the regional district in February 2020 with a taxpayer-funded settlement package valued at $520,000, as well as a legal agreement to call his departure a “retirement.”

The forensic audit was ordered by the TNRD board as a result of a KTW investigation into spending at the regional district under Gill between 2015 and January 2020. The forensic audit was initially estimated to cost between $50,000 and $75,000, but ended up coming in at about $500,000.

Last week, a new section on the TNRD’s website at tnrd.ca went live, including links to BDO Canada’s presentation of the audit, a redacted version of the forensic audit report and the regional district’s response, including 65 recommendations provided by the auditors to improve financial controls.

TNRD vice-chair Barbara Roden said the regional district aggregated all of the information in one spot, due to interest from the public in following the TNRD’s progress.

“We had all of those recommendations come out from BDO,” Roden said. “We’re committed to following those recommendations and doing what needs to be done. This is a way that people can follow along and make sure that we’re doing it.”

Some recommendations are underway, some have been completed or others have yet to begin. Roden said she has not heard of timelines to complete the recommendations. Roden said implementation of the recommendations will take a lot of work from staff and the policy review committee. Roden is vice-chair of that committee, which relaunched amidst the audit, having not met since 2018. She noted the committee has already begun to look at policies in need of tightening or clarification, including putting in place monetary limits for gifts for staff and politicians. Changes were also made by interim CAO Randy Diehl when he filled in as interim CAO immediately after Gill left.

“I’d be hoping it’s months, not years,” Roden said.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has also called for the TNRD to provide proactive disclosure, including expenses of staff and politicians and contracts.

TNRD Area P (Rivers and the Peaks) director Mel Rothenburger has raised the issue at the board level and said expenses will soon be posted online.

“On a regular basis, probably quarterly, anybody will be able to log in to the TNRD site and find specifics of where directors and senior staff have been filing for expenses,” he said.

Find the forensic audit landing page online here.