Decision not to reappoint Auditor General bad for B.C.

(Victoria, 7 January 2013) – IntegrityBC is calling for changes to how the appointments and re-appointments of Legislature Officers are handled, in the wake of the B.C. legislature special committee’s decision not to reappoint Auditor General John Doyle.

Saturday’s news that Auditor General John Doyle would not be reappointed is bad for B.C. in the organization’s view not only because John Doyle was more than effective in his job, but also because it points to flaws in the process of how these nominations are handled.

“Government watchdogs are supposed to have teeth, not wear muzzles,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. “It’s difficult to imagine that any successor to John Doyle will not read the writing that was written on the wall with this decision: if you want to be reappointed don’t do the job of Auditor General too well.”

In the context of fixed-date elections, the organization is recommending that the terms of Legislature Officers be structured so that re-appointments take place within six months following a general election, and new appointments within 18 months.

“The timing and manner of how the news broke regarding the decision not to reappoint John Doyle is deplorable,” said Travis. “The decision itself will strike most observers as vindictive and partisan.”

The appointment of Officers of the Legislature requires the unanimous consent of the Legislature. Among these positions are: the Auditor General, the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, the Chief Electoral Officer, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the Ombudsman and the Police Complaint Commissioner.

Re-appointments to such positions should be a matter of course in the absence of work- related performance issues and they should not be made in the dying days of any government.

The organization has launched an online petition in the wake of the Doyle decision calling the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia to freeze the appointments or re-appointments of all Legislature Officers until after the May 2013 B.C. election and introduce new policies to ensure that all such appointments or re-appointments take place within six months of each fixed-date general election.

The petition can be found on the organization’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/integritybritishcolumbia
or at https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/freeze-the-appointments-or-re-appointments-of-all-legislature-officers

The organization has received numerous comments on its Facebook page and petition regarding the Doyle decision, including:

“Our Auditor General is beyond reproach and is completing investigations that BC voters want answers to;”

“Getting rid of inconvenient officers to avoid embarrassing scandal before the election is disgraceful and unfair;”

“This is such an offensive decision. This man was responsible for telling British Columbians “actually, those financial statements aren’t telling you everything they’re supposed to, and here are three pages of things the government has accounted for incorrectly.” Rather than correct the errors and giving British Columbians the full story, the government just fired him. I’m really disgusted by this.”

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For more information:
Dermod Travis, Executive Director
IntegrityBC
250-590-5126
info@integritybc.ca