City of Nanaimo auditor finds deficiencies in whistleblower policies

Employees who raised concerns were disciplined, says KPMG

The City of Nanaimo’s auditor is recommending that the municipality strengthen its whistleblower policies and review its expense reporting.

KPMG provided a 2017 audit findings report to the city on Monday to be formally presented at the finance committee meeting on Wednesday, May 9.

The auditor found that the city’s financial statements “present fairly, in all material respects, the consolidated financial position of the city,” but went on to identify other areas of concern.

The report found “significant deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting” and outlined problems in respectful workplace and serious misconduct reporting; expense report review, authorization and policies; consistency of hiring practices; and governance understanding and responsibilities.

In regards to whistleblower policies, KPMG found that employees “raised concerns regarding the appropriate usage of city funds and the ability to collect funds owed to the city,” and while their initial concerns were said to be handled effectively, when the issue was raised a second time, “disciplinary letters were placed in the complainants’ employee files.” According to the report, the respectful workplace policy was revised five times between January 2017 and January 2018 and “three of the revisions related to the individuals designated to manage complaints.”

story continues below

KPMG recommends city council review its respectful workplace and reporting serious misconduct policies, and suggests complaints against senior leadership should be reviewed by the mayor or a designate.

KPMG also found deficiencies in expense reporting, as the city’s chief administrative officer and chief financial officer reviewed and approved each other’s expenses.

“This cross approval process provides for the opportunity of collusion between the two parties and is not an appropriate internal control,” the report notes.

On hiring practices, the auditor’s report found that the city has a “well-established hiring protocol,” but found in some situations, “steps in the process have been bypassed at the senior management level, that advice from human resources was not followed, and that candidates have been hired into positions without having met all the usual screening requirements.”

KPMG noted that at the start of the audit process, there was discussion with the city about “significant risk of management override of controls” and that was one of the focus areas in the audit.

The audit findings report is accompanied by a staff report authored by Laura Mercer, deputy chief financial officer, and dated May 9.

Her report notes that “the city’s auditors, KPMG, have completed the audit work and are prepared to issue an unqualified opinion that the financial statements fairly represent the financial position of the city.”

Staff’s recommendation is that the finance and audit committee recommend council approve the City of Nanaimo’s 2017 annual financial statements.

RELATED: City investigating ‘allegation of significant concern’



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Two to hospital after University of Victoria sailing mishap

Wind gusts capsize boat of recreational club sailors

Victoria’s deaf community advocates for different sign languages to be recognized on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Transport Canada announces funds for pollutant clean up in Victoria Park, removal of abandoned boats

Contaminants at Laurel Point Park will be removed starting at the end of September

Saanich ‘inside cat’ comes home two weeks later, two pounds lighter

The only one not excited about the return of Arthur, is the… Continue reading

Volunteers gather in Metchosin for B.C.’s 1st ever search and rescue joint training

Around 200 volunteers came out for the three-day training program

United Way asks Victoria to share local love

2018 campaign aims to raise another $5M

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

B.C. VIEWS: Looking under the hood of ICBC’s war on crashes

Is our accident rate really soaring, or is it inefficiency?

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

16 people died when Humboldt Broncos bus collided with a semi-truck in rural Saskatchewan

The Vatican ‘owes God an apology,’ activist says in letter to Pope Francis

Letter came after a report on sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children in six Pennsylvania dioceses

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Most Read