Constituency office budgets don’t pay for 75,000 BTU furnaces

(Victoria, 14 March 2013) – IntegrityBC is calling on Speaker Bill Barisoff to revisit a plan disclosed by auditor general John Doyle yesterday whereby Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster’s constituency office budget is repaying $67,000 in renovation costs to the MLA’s Vernon office.

The only party that should pay the costs of anything above customization of the office for Foster’s needs is the landlord, not by default Foster’s constituents, according to IntegrityBC.

“Constituency office budgets are there to cover the costs of serving the needs of constituents, not pay for 75,000 BTU furnaces, 4-ton heat pump cooling systems or a building’s electrical wiring system as John Doyle found,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis.

Doyle’s update on the Legislative Assembly’s financial records revealed that his office only received the invoices for the amounts paid to Foster’s landlord in December 2012, even though the MLA claimed in January that he was not aware that Doyle had raised concerns over the renovations when details were leaked to the Victoria Times Colonist.

At the time, Foster was chairing the five member legislature committee that refused to reappoint the auditor general to a second term.

Doyle noted that the renovation invoices submitted to his office were not stamped for date received by the Legislative Assembly, raising concerns “as to when they were provided and added to the financial records.”

According to Doyle’s update the “expenditures included, among other things; purchasing and installing a complete forced air heating/cooling system including a 4-ton heat pump and 75,000 BTU furnace, replacing the building’s wiring system, installing vapour barriers in exterior walls and purchasing and installing a new double paned 18’ X 9’ store front window and new plumbing including gas piping.”

Doyle concluded that the renovations went beyond “the mere customization of a pre-existing space” for Foster’s needs.

IntegrityBC is calling on the Speaker to release all documentation related to the renovations and the repayment plan.

- 30 -

For more information:
Dermod Travis, Executive Director

For more information about the report:

Times Colonist – Les Layne: Auditor finds more sloppy records

ipolitics – BC Auditor General says finances are on the mend