By Sally Smith
On Jan. 17, Perth Committee of the Whole passed a motion to authorize Mayor John Fenik to sign the annual audit letter, and further, to require each councillor to answer specific questions on fraud that auditor Allan and Partners outlined in an audit planning letter.
The auditors are paid $23,000 on an annual basis. For that price Fenik asked if they are the ones who should be answering questions or if, indeed, the auditors should be answering the mayor and councillors’ questions.
Treasurer Lang Britchford explained this was a standard letter sent every year and that it’s purely administrative in nature, and each year they pick a different theme — this year being fraud.
Councillor Judy Brown commented that on a normal day-to-day basis, councillors practice due diligence. “They’re [the auditors] expecting too much. We have to trust our staff; it’s not our responsibility.”
She read aloud one question saying she wouldn’t know how to answer that. Britchford explained the answers can be “brief, unless aware of some fraud. Then spell it out.” He added that Perth has “very strong internal controls” and called the process healthy and collaborative, “not fearful.”