Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bafflegab: BC Liberals fiscal (mis)management of taxpayer dollars


noun Slang . confusing or generally unintelligible jargon; gobbledegook

I'm a bit confused about what government Premier Clark is talking about here:

“What we have to count on is that our vote is going to come together. And if people care about good government, open government, family government, government that creates jobs, government that respects your money and treats it the way that you would, then you have to remember that we have to come together.”
Vancouver Courier, Mike Howell, July 25, 2012.
Is this the government she's referring to, the one she & the incompetent BC Liberals have been in charge of since 2001:
Auditor general says finances of B.C. legislature are a mess
Doyle released a scathing audit Thursday that pointed to a host of financial irregularities and failures at the legislative assembly, which has a budget of almost $70 million for staff, MLA salaries and expenses, security, a library, dining room and gift shop.

“It’s really bad,” Doyle said. When asked if he could conclude whether the legislature had lost any money or spent it improperly, Doyle replied: “We don’t know.”

Doyle said his auditors had to adjust the legislature’s books by $1.3 billion. “That’s how far wrong they were in what they were doing,” he said.

Legislature financial staff had not reconciled their records with their bank accounts in years, resulting, in one case, of records showing the legislature $133 million in overdraft while the actual bank account sat at $0, he said.

The audit also found that taxpayers have been paying off MLA credit cards, used for travel expenses, without proper documentation — likely totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Barisoff described the audit as a difference in “accounting procedures” and a personality conflict between Doyle and legislative comptroller Dan Arbic.

“I think the Speaker might not appreciate the gravity of the findings, and hasn’t yet quite worked out what this means properly, and what his responsibilities are,” Doyle replied.

Times Colonist, July 27, 2012.

How can we expect B.C.’s finances to be handled competently and honestly if the elected officials themselves can’t account for their own expenses?

In his audit of the B.C. legislature’s finances, auditor general John Doyle has revealed neglect and incompetence of scandalous proportions. No one, it seems, has kept proper track of the legislature’s annual budget of nearly $70 million for years.

Because of the accumulated neglect over that period, Doyle said his auditors had to adjust the books by $1.3 billion. At one point, records showed the legislature had a $133-million overdraft while the actual bank balance was zero. Taxpayers have been paying off the credit cards MLAs use for travel expenses without proper documentation.

Because the accounting has been so shoddy, Doyle doesn’t know if the legislature has lost any money or if it has been spent improperly. In other words, it’s so bad, he can’t tell how bad it is.

The day-to-day operation of the legislature is the responsibility of the legislature clerk, who reports to the legislative assembly management committee, chaired by Speaker Bill Barisoff. That committee has had only two 20-minute meetings in 12 months. Fingers can legitimately be pointed at the legislature’s financial staff — surely, these are professionals who understand basic accounting procedures — but the ultimate blame rests with the elected officials.

John Doyle deserves the Order of BC for his work in fulfilling his mandate to the citizens of B.C.