Audit document released, but no problem found

By Phil Gravelle

ERIN – A minor kerfuffle over an auditor’s planning document has been settled with an apology from the mayor and no further questions.

At its Sept. 3 meeting, Erin council approved its 2018 audited financial statements.

Mayor Allan Alls said that at the previous meeting he “probably ruled in error” when he said a question from councillor Mike Robins, about an audit planning report council received earlier this year, was out of order.

At the Aug. 13 meeting, Robins asked auditor Sally Slumskie of BDO Canada about a section of her report on risk assessment that referred to “staff turnover of 75 per cent and proper reporting of severance costs.”

Clerk Lisa Campion told the mayor the question referred to material not presented to the public and should be considered out of order.

Robins noted after the meeting that while a risk had been identified prior to the audit, there was no evidence of a problem mentioned in the final audit report. 

When asked how staff turnover and severance reporting could be considered a risk, communications officer Jessica Spina said, “The town can confirm that the facts stated through the councillor’s question were not correct.”

After reviewing the matter, Alls said on Sept. 3 that the material was not actually confidential. Campion said making the report public would have needed the permission of the auditor.

Alls said the planning document in question had since been made public, included with the Sept. 3 agenda, so questions could be asked. 

Council members did not, however, ask any questions about it on Sept. 3.

The document, dated March 22, 2019 identifies staff turnover and severances as one area of “significant risk”, based on the auditor’s “knowledge of the town’s business, our past experience, and knowledge gained from management and the members of council”.

The auditor’s note in this area said, “The estimated staff turnover is about 75%. There is a risk that severances paid out are not recorded and presented correctly.”