This report deserves to be reviewed by an auditor general, if we had one: Councillor Linda Annis
Surrey, B.C. (June 27, 2022): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says if the city had an auditor general, it would have “a field day” with the annual Statement of Financial Information coming to council tonight.
“When I proposed an auditor general for Surrey, the sort of independent office every major city has, I wanted a professional pair of eyes on how we spend money and whether we are getting real value for those dollars,” said Annis. “I think an auditor general would have a field day going through the document being presented to council tonight. For instance, while there are performance reviews for other departments, the Surrey Police Service has none, even though it’s spending tens of millions of dollars. The report says the SPS isn’t reporting performance measures because it’s in development. Meanwhile the mayor’s police department has been in the works for more than three years.”
Annis said she continues to believe the real costs of the police transition are being kept from the community, and that she estimates the final bill could be over $200 million.
“You really have to go hunting for police transition numbers in this document,” Annis said. “For instance, the report says SPS had assets of only $398,000 at the end of 2021. Meanwhile, other assets that are in the works are lumped together with other city projects and purchases. The fact that this report is for 2021 means that the next annual financial statement will only come out after the next election. So, once again taxpayers are in the dark heading into the October 15 municipal vote.
“An independent auditor general would have the ability, credentials and mandate to dig deeper to ensure taxpayers are kept informed and their tax dollars are being protected. That’s certainly not what we have today. The SPS is overbudget and behind schedule and still, taxpayers do not know what the real costs are. Doug McCallum and his four councillors will do everything they can to keep people in the dark until after the election.”
Annis said she will not support the financial reports being presented at council tonight because there are too many holes, too much information is missing or incomplete, and there are too many serious questions about major expenditures such as at the SPS.