Lloydminster City Hall. (106.1 The Goat/Ezzah Bashir)
A forensic audit of City spending finds that over 50 per cent of transactions did not follow proper policies and procedures.
The 2018 audit looked at 45 individuals spending, including the Mayor, Council, Chief Administrative Officer and 36 other management employees between January 2009 and June 2017. The findings concluded that of the total of 6,156 transactions made by the City totalling over $1.2 million, 65 per cent failed the criteria set up by MNP LLP accounting firm and nine per cent passed.
Mayor Gerald Aalbers says the audit answered a lot of the questions the community had about what was going on with expenses over the years.
“It certainly may not have answered everybody’s questions, but it told us that there was an opportunity to tighten up some policies and processes and I think that’s what City Council has been doing since we’ve been elected.”
The major issued outlined in the report was the lack of supporting documents with most of the transactions. MNP stated in the report that there were numerous discrepancies that were a result of failing to follow the policies in place.
Aalbers says he has no doubt in his mind that the money spent was on City business, however, failure to follow the processes is the main issue that they have to deal with.
“The percentage that you can see in the report, there was a lot of failures, but I do want to caution you with the thought that those may simply have been a signature missed. So what it tells me is that we need to ensure through our processes that those don’t happen because we want to ensure we do it right each and every time.”
MNP categorized the expenses by the City into nine categories, including office, where 2,026 transactions were reviewed and found that 20 per cent passed. Meals were another category, whereof the 1,576 items reviewed 24 per cent passed and 39 per cent of travel expenses passed the accounting firms criteria.
Aalbers says the City is working with their Chief Financial Officer to improve or completely redevelop their policies and procedures.
“So there’s a series of processes going through there and certainly at the end of the day the City manager will be responsible to ensure that that’s happening.”
The full report is available on the City’s website.