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theskeptic

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After years of trying, Councillor MacKay was able to persuade Council to approve the appointment of an Internal Auditor. An "Internal Auditor's" functions are separate and distinct from that of an "External Auditor." Basically St. Albert's external auditors (KPMG) perform an annual balance-sheet-only audit in which the primary purpose is to assure the general public that the financial statements are free of material misstatements. In contrast an "Internal auditor's" functions are similar to the Canadian Auditor General and include assessing the City's risk management strategy and practices, management (including IT) control frameworks as well as efficiencey, effectiveness, and economy of the entire Administration. An Internal Auditor is a key player if you are attempting to establish a system of checks and balances in your local government.

In a 38 page internal memo from Crouse to the Administration, it seems clear that Crouse is attempting to do everything within his power to change the role of this Internal Auditor and emasculate the position so that he can have power and control over this auditor. 

First, he wants to remove the title of auditor and steer the position away from detecting fraud, waste, and inefficiencies, to some sort of process and governance inspector.

Secondly, as he says in his hand written internal memo he is worried that "This (the Internal Auditor position) can go sideways very easily". So to ensure he has control over this Auditor rather than him being independent, Crouse doesn't want a full time employee appointed by Council ... he wants an ad hoc external contract for services situation so that he can choose this part time contractor from year to year and control what he can and cannot audit.

Thirdly, he wants to restrict this Auditors authority so that he is not subject to being FOIPED, does not have unlimited access to the IT system, and is restricted in his access to offices.

All this back room manipulation, emasculation of the powers of the Internal Auditor, and attempts to restrict the auditors field of inquiry raises as simple question .... " Crouse, exactly what is it that you feel you have to hide? "

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EnoughAllready

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Reply with quote  #2 
When watching the debacle occurring in America right now, I quickly come to the realization....... it's happening in my our backyard.
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Mark Cassidy

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Reply with quote  #3 
Open and transparent does not mean deflecting disclosure it welcomes any auditor with open books and open arms.Great to hear finally this was long overdue and it's unfortunate it took some counsellors this long to have acceptance.Take note of those that did not see the value in openness and bookmark their names for future reference.Its going to be great for our city to finally take away any doubts about having clean books.Cudos to those who pressed the issue and made it happen.
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Mark Cassidy

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Reply with quote  #4 
Being a realtor for 31 years and when we have our homes inspected for home building inspections never have I been told we could not look in a particular spot of the home or it would throw up huge red flags to be the first place to look.Lets get on with the inspection(forensic audit).
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Mark Cassidy

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Reply with quote  #5 
Being a realtor for 31 years and when we have our homes inspected for home building inspections never have I been told we could not look in a particular spot of the home or it would throw up huge red flags to be the first place to look.Lets get on with the inspection(forensic audit).
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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Cassidy
Being a realtor for 31 years and when we have our homes inspected for home building inspections never have I been told we could not look in a particular spot of the home or it would throw up huge red flags to be the first place to look.Lets get on with the inspection(forensic audit).


Here is a transcript of Crouse's memo to the Administration in relation to the Internal Auditor motion.  Given Mark Cassidy's comments above ... does it raise any red flags?

"July 8th. 2106
Chris Jardine;
My input by July 31st. as per motion.
1. the word auditor is the incorrect term (see Christine Maloney -- lawyer comments) plus the inference of "auditor."
2. The Edmonton bylaw infers longevity.. our bylaw would need to be clear about the contractual nature of this work (contract service provider)
3. Only Council by public resolution may give direction to the contract audit work; this needs to be clear.
4. We need to be crystal clear about the arms length of the consultant when it comes to
FOIP
Office Space
IT Access
Door Access
i.e. this is a consultant and must not be able to act like an employee or a councillor
5. This work should focus on council directed processes
--- governance in place of xyz
--- is there a council policy for abc
--- is there a match between council decisions, council direction of administration, execution of the same.
6. It should not be an audit which parallels the work of the real auditor, but rather a continuous process review Spell this out
7. In the agenda report you state you likely need external support for the best practice research. I really really encourage that; quality of the bylaw is far more critical than the Oct 24th deadline. This can go sideways very easily
8. Audit committee would "recommend to council"
a) first on the terms of reference
b) second on the work list
c) Therd [sic} on who does the work
9. We cannot RFP (request for proposal) the real work until we decide on the work, In other words don't pick a consultant and then give them the work, select the work & based on the work need, then prepare the RFP (request for prooposal)
10. There has to be a first point contact from the Administration on this work. This needs to be real clear Chris Belke.
11. I have many other thoughts but do this right. Not Fast.

Nolan"

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goldfinger41

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Reply with quote  #7 
I cannot agree more with theSkeptic. she/he hits the nail right on the head. Well overdue decision on the part of council. It is amazing how much it takes and how long it takes to make important decisions that have the public's full support. Let's hope that it doesn't drag on pass the next election due date. Also, I do hope that a "Full and Comprehensive" audit is completed regardless of the financial situation in the Province. It is this kind of process that can save communities millions over time and throughout the Province. Thank you St. Albert Council members who voted "FOR."
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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #8 

After about 4 years Council has finally passed MacKay's motion to create the position of an internal auditor. Of course Crouse opposed the motion. He admitted that his repeated arguments in the past that it was illegal for St. Albert to have an independent auditor had proven to be incorrect. However, he stated that he was opposing the motion because he doubted that with a City Budget in excess of 100 million an auditor will find enough savings to pay for his position.

MacKay's counter argument was that if they had had an internal auditor they could have saved 5 million by refusing to build the road to nowhere. His position was that the claim that Developers were standing in line to buy the new city lots which were being created was pure bogus and an internal auditor would have caught this scam. Council, thus warned could have cancelled the entire project and saved the City residents from a 5 million dollar boondoggle.

Meanwhile Cathy Heron was promoting her birds & the bees program.  Having got her backyard chicken program on the go she was now pushing to do a study to set up rules for keeping backyard bees.  This study will only cost $15,000.00 plus the time and office overhead required for City staff to perform this study.  

Apparently there are 40 people who want to have chickens in the backyard and 13 people who desperately need beehives in their backyard.   Even though Canada is slightly larger than Hong Kong we are desperately short of agricultural land, so it is absolutely essential that 60 thousand St. Albert residents inhale the sweet smell of chicken sh$t while they dodge bees for fear of being stung.

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EnoughAllready

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Reply with quote  #9 
Heron's chicken and bees project will eat up time and money....... but the Gazette sees McKay as the one who wastes time and money???

When the mayoral election takes place this fall, will these chicken coups be the pillar of her electoral campaign? A kind of, look what I've done for you all in the past. Can you only imagine the future? Petting zoos in everyone's backyard.

There are enough real problems with this city that need to dealt with long before we worry about chickens and bees.
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warmodel

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Reply with quote  #10 
theskeptic:  Do you remember growing up when once you were in your teens you learnt about the "birds and the bees"  -  the question arises what in heavens name did Heron learn in those same years...............surely it wasn't about raising chickens and bees..........................
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