B.C. Auditor General Carol Bellringer. (Office of the Auditor General)

B.C.’s auditor general to resign for ‘personal reasons’

Carol Bellringer’s news comes just days after she released legislature spending scandal report

B.C.’s auditor general says she is resigning for personal reasons, days after releasing her report into the spending scandal at the Legislature.

“I have been honoured to serve as B.C.’s auditor general since 2014 and would like to assure all members of the legislative assembly and the public that I will be available to assist with the transition until Dec. 31 and afterwards,” Carol Bellringer said in a statement on Wednesday. Her term will end on Dec. 31.

“The Office of the Auditor General has a strong workforce in place to support changes and its highly professional, skilled staff will ensure that the important work of the office continues as outlined in the operational, service and coverage plans.”

The statement said Bellringer will not be doing interviews.

Premier John Horgan said in a statement just hours after the resignation announcement that he’s very grateful for Bellringer’s years of service and hard work.

“Her diligent work has informed improvements in the way our government is run and in the way programs and services are delivered to the people of this province,” he said.

“I am pleased that she will be staying on through the end of the year and to assist with the transition to a successor.”

Last Thursday, Bellringer released her findings following an investigation into claims of improper expenses by now-former legislature clerk Craig James and Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz between April 2016 and December 2018.

The two administrative officers were unexpectedly escorted out of the legislature and suspended last November, and later accused by Speaker of the House Darrly Plecas of spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on souvenirs, designer suits, magazine subscriptions, personal vacations, and even a wood splitter.

In May, James reached a “non-financial settlement” and retired with pension and retirement allowance, after a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada found he improperly claimed benefits and used legislature property for personal reasons.

Lenz is on paid leave as authorities continue to investigate.

READ MORE: B.C. legislature clerk in spending scandal retires after wrongdoing found

Bellringer reported last week that James charged $108,656 in travel costs for 14 out-of-province trips in that time period, while Lenz made two of 15 out-of-province trips, claiming $59,269 in expenses.

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