In the wake of an investigation by KTW into spending at the Thompson Nicola Regional District, there are calls for Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Anne Kang to remove Sukh Gill from Thompson Rivers University’s board of governors.
Gill — the former TNRD CAO who charged more than a half-million dollars on his taxpayer-funded credit card in five years prior to his sudden departure last year — was appointed to TRU’s board of governors by the lieutenant-governor, with a term set to expire in July of this year.
As part of his board work, Gill is chair of three finance-related standing committees at TRU: audit, finance and an advisory committee on investments.
KTW has received letters from Kamloops residents sent to Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Anne Kang, calling for Gill’s removal from those positions at the university.
KTW is not naming the letter writers due to requests for anonymity.
One letter, sent to the advanced education minister on Feb. 22, 2021 states: “As the saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Jessica Wallace has provided ample sunlight; I should hope that the skidmark that caused a shameful and embarrassing stain on the TNRD will be scrubbed out expediently by TRU and the Province of BC as to not also tarnish the upstanding reputation of TRU.”
One Kamloops resident sent two letters — one on July 22, 2020, to the province’s lieutenant-governor and to TRU president Brett Fairbairn, and one to the advanced education minister on Feb. 22, 2021.
“Mr. Gill should not be trusted with decisions affecting people’s livelihoods or public dollars, nor should he be in any position of power over others,” the first letter states. It was written following KTW’s series of stories in the spring of 2020 detailing Gill’s $500,000-plus payout when he was dismissed from the TNRD. “Having him in a trusted role such as Board Governor at a public institution is to put students, the TRU community, and taxpayers’ dollars at risk.”
The resident’s second letter repeats concerns from the initial correspondence.
According to the committee terms of reference, the TRU board’s audit committee assists the board of governors in fulfilling obligations and oversight of “the integrity of the University’s financial reporting process and system of internal controls regarding financial reporting and accounting compliance.”
The audit committee is also responsible for reviewing TRU’s annual financial statements and discussing with administration and external auditor all proposed changes in accounting policy, compliance with accounting standards and adjustments arising out of the audit process.
The finance committee advises the board on matters relating to financial planning and property affairs at the university.
KTW has reached out to the advanced education ministry, Thompson Rivers University, TRU’s board of governors and the board of governor’s chair — City of Kamloops staffer Barb Berger — for comment.
TRU’s board of governors oversees financial and legal aspects of the university, while the senate oversees university academics.
KTW also reached out to the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC, which said Gill remains a member in “good standing.”
Asked about complaints, disciplinary proceedings or suspensions of Gill, CPA BC vice-president of communications Kerri Wilcox said: “Due to our legislative responsibilities as a regulator, we can’t provide specifics on any member due to issues of confidentiality.”