Nancy Adie-MacKay, partner with KPMG, who conducted an audit for the City of Nanaimo, speaks at a finance and audit committee meeting at Shaw Auditorium on May 9. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Audit report presented to Nanaimo city councillors

City of Nanaimo’s finance and audit committee hears concerns related to city’s whistleblower policies

The City of Nanaimo’s finance and audit committee is recommending staff work with auditor KPMG on recommendations in a city audit.

The City of Nanaimo audit findings report for the year ending Dec. 31, 2017 recommends strengthening of whistleblower policies and a review of how expenses are reported, according to Nancy Adie-MacKay, audit partner with KPMG, who gave a report summary at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday. Adie-MacKay also said KPMG was in a position to issue a clean audit with no outstanding issues.

Coun. Jerry Hong said he was concerned about the report.

“Didn’t we usually get the in camera version of this? … Because there were some issues that the auditor wanted us to bring up without slamming staff,” said Hong. “This report slams council, the chair of this committee for no apparent reason and upper management and staff which is not fair. Publicly. It’s out in the press. This is not fair to this council or this committee and to senior management because page 75, the whistleblower policy, if I’m not mistaken that’s an in camera item. Do we have a rise and report on this?”

RELATED: City auditor finds deficiencies in expense reporting, whistleblower policies

Adie-MacKay said that over the years there have been various processes. Sometimes there have been no actual presentations and sometimes there have been meetings “off to the side,” which was her preference.

“I can’t speak to how you want to raise that point [going] forward, but our responsibility is making sure we’re providing that information to you,” she said.

Coun. Jim Kipp said he was happy to see a whistleblower policy as it was lacking.

“When I try to get information [from] them, people are afraid to talk to a councillor,” said Kipp. “And I’ve been told, and I have witnesses for it, by talking to Coun. Kipp or Bestwick, you may be interfering with the corporation and it’s grounds for dismissal, so whistleblower policy has been on my books for a long time and I’ve talked about that since 2011.”

Coun. Ian Thorpe appreciated KPMG identifying deficiencies and wondered how to address them and Adie-MacKay suggested getting best-practice examples and recommended organizations that could provide governance education.

Thorpe made the motion that staff work with KPMG on implementing recommendations and have staff bring forward a report and council voted in favour of the motion.

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