At their meeting on Sept. 7, South Algonquin Township council passed a bylaw to establish a Joint Compliance Audit Committee for the upcoming 2022 municipal election and to adopt the committee’s terms of reference, as required under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. After realizing no queries or discussion were to be had, council passed bylaw 2022-718, bringing the committee into effect.
Under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, S.O.1996, c.32 as amended, all municipalities, including South Algonquin, are required to establish a Joint Compliance Audit Committee for upcoming municipal elections, in this case, the municipal election happening on Oct. 24.
Independent of the municipality, the committee considers applications requesting audits of municipal candidates’ finances, possibly appoint auditors and determine if legal proceedings are needed due to the results of the auditors’ reports.
According to the information in the Sept. 7 council meeting agenda package, the following residents have been appointed to South Algonquin’s Joint Compliance Audit committee as of Sept. 7; Sandra August, Mervin Dunn and James Etmanski.
According to the bylaw’s schedule A, which sets out the terms of reference for the committee, the powers and functions of the committee are set out in section 81 of the Municipal Elections Act.
Schedule A also sets out the following conditions; within 30 days of a compliance audit request application the committee will decide whether it should be granted or rejected, if the application is granted the committee will appoint an auditor to conduct the compliance audit of the candidate’s election campaign finances, the committee will review the auditor’s report within 30 days of receipt and decide whether legal proceedings should be started, if the auditor’s report shows no apparent contraventions and there appear to be no reasonable grounds for the application, the committee will advise council of this.
Council members, staff or 2022 election candidates are precluded from serving on the committee and if a committee member does subsequently decide to work for the township in any of these capacities they’ll be terminated from the committee.
They have to agree in writing not to work for and/or provide advice to any candidate running for office in the municipality.
The committee’s term is the same as the term for council, which is 2022 to 2026, and at the first meeting of the committee, they shall select one of their three members to serve as the committee chair.
With regard to frequency of meetings, the committee will meet as needed with open meetings (as required under the provisions of the Municipal Act, 2001) being scheduled by the clerk in consultation with the committee chair when there is a compliance audit application received.
The committee will get administrative support from municipal staff and the township will also be responsible for all associated expenses.
Committee members are paid $100 per meeting, plus mileage and meals for out-of-town meetings at the approved municipal rate.
Finally, the committee will report to council when a function of the committee has taken place.
At their meeting on Sept. 7, South Algonquin Mayor Jane Dumas asked council if they wanted to discuss this bylaw before they passed it. With nobody wanting to discuss it, council voted and passed the bylaw to establish the Joint Compliance Audit Committee for the 2022 to 2026 term.
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times