N.B.'s auditor general leaving to take on AG role in Nova Scotia

·3 min read
N.B.'s auditor general leaving to take on AG role in Nova Scotia
Kim Adair-MacPherson is leaving her post as New Brunswick's auditor general. She will take on the same role in Nova Scotia on May 3. (Catherine Harrop/CBC News file photo - image credit)
Kim Adair-MacPherson is leaving her post as New Brunswick's auditor general. She will take on the same role in Nova Scotia on May 3. (Catherine Harrop/CBC News file photo - image credit)

New Brunswick's auditor general is leaving her post, and the province.

Kim Adair-MacPherson, who has presided over independent audits and provided advice on how the provincial government is managing its resources for more than 10 years, will take on the role of auditor general for Nova Scotia on May 3.

She will become the first woman to hold that post in Nova Scotia.

In a statement Thursday, Adair-MacPherson said she has been honoured to serve as the province's auditor general.

"The last 10 years as auditor general of New Brunswick have been especially rewarding, and I want to express my sincere appreciation for the opportunity to serve my home province and the legislative assembly in this important capacity," she said.

"During my mandate, in addition to delivering independent financial and performance audits, my personal focus has been to build and strengthen our audit team, modernize the Auditor General Act, obtain additional budget to increase performance audit resources and encourage a more effective Public Accounts Committee.

"I leave the office with a huge feeling of accomplishment and gratitude for the support of legislators, both past and present."

A floodlight on province's finances, responsibilities

During her tenure, which was to end last year but was extended to December 2021, Adair-MacPherson has frequently flagged concerns about the province's debt levels, education system, nursing homes, Ambulance New Brunswick response times, ministerial expenses and more, in sometimes scathing reports.

In 2015, she issued a blistering critique of how the Liberals, under then-premier Brian Gallant, were accounting for public-sector pension plans, saying the provincial government's math wasn't credible and its 2014-15 deficit figure wasn't accurate.

She noted in her statement that it was the first time in 17 years that a New Brunswick auditor general hadn't been able to deliver a "clean audit" of the provincial government's public accounts.

Auditor General Kim MacPherson in 2015, preparing to brief a legislature committee on her annual report.
Auditor General Kim MacPherson in 2015, preparing to brief a legislature committee on her annual report.(Jacques Poitras/CBC News file photo)

Latest report singled out NB Power debt, public pension plan

In her latest report in February, she raised concerns over NB Power's management of its debt, provincial oversight of an electronic medical record program and the province's failure to address the increasing demand for nursing home beds.

She also highlighted her office's lack of access to information from the third-party administrator of the province's $18-billion public pension plan, Vestcor.

Formerly a Crown agency, the plan was reorganized in 2016 as an independent body to allow it to solicit outside accounts and contended it is no longer subject to Adair-MacPherson's authority.

Adair-MacPherson disputed that on several grounds, but Premier Blaine Higgs sided with Vestcor and said his government will not pass special legislation she requested to require the body to submit to her oversight.

She has not said whether a court application is under consideration, noting: "I surely hope it doesn't come to that because that's a costly, lengthy exercise."

Adair-MacPherson has also served in other provincial government capacities, including as provincial comptroller, Department of Finance management board, NB Extra-Mural Hospital and Office of the Auditor General.