At the regular Board of Directors Meeting of Mar. 11, the TNRD board voted to authorize an independent third-party financial review and audit that will investigate the exorbitant expenses of the board which have recently come into the spotlight, most notably those of former CAO Sukh Gill.
“Questions have been raised about whether some past transactions and expenses at the TNRD should have been incurred at all and whether or not they were appropriate,” reads a report from the board.
“The TNRD wishes to continue doing business in a way that is cost efficient with appropriate oversight measures and safeguards in place to ensure this happens, and be more accountable and transparent to the public. With this is mind, a more detailed level financial audit is being proposed as an important step in examining past expenditures and current practices and policies, leading to improvements for these outcomes.”
The audit, which was first suggested by TNRD Chair Ken Gillis when he addressed the public regarding the lavish expenses in a Zoom presentation on Mar. 1, 2021, will be forensic in nature.
Corporate Officer Deanna Campbell explained that a forensic audit is more detailed and more thorough than a regular audit, and would examine approval methods, policies and processes currently in place. The end result will provide recommendations for preventing a reoccurrence of the illegitimate expenses Gill charged over a five-year period from 2015 – 2020.
Director Singh, a Kamloops City councillor, credited Jessica Wallace, a reporter for Kamloops This Week, with her extensive investigating and the compiling of records she had done regarding Gill’s expenses, and questioned what further information would be gained by an audit.
Current TNRD CAO Scott Hildebrand, echoed staff and board sentiments by saying that an audit was needed in order to look at the expenses in more depth.
“Given the awareness and the media exposure that we’ve had in recent weeks, I feel that it needs to go to a third party for judgement versus the newspaper article,” said Hildebrand.
“I think we need to go deeper.”
Mel Rothenburger, Director of Electoral Area ‘P’, went one step further by suggesting that, in the name of accountability and transparency, staff should prepare a quarterly or even a monthly report regarding staff and director expenses, as opposed to the annual report which he felt did not provide enough detail.
The audit itself is expected to cost between $50,000 to $75,000.
Director Santo Talarico, Mayor of Cache Creek, was the only board member to vote in opposition to the audit.
Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald