UPDATE: Auditor General raises concerns about CNA hiring, liquor corporation inspections

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Auditor General's Report released today.

Auditor General Terry Paddon raised concerns with the College of the North Atlantic, the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation, and a raft of government departments in his annual report, released this morning.

Paddon tackled a range of issues in his first year as auditor general.

When it comes to liquor, Paddon said that inspections of bars and other licenced establishment aren't happening adequately, and the corporation doesn't have a firm plan for how it goes about doing them.

At CNA, he said there were problems with hiring. He found several instances where qualified candidates were screened out, and the college hired current employees. In a range of cases, he also found that the school wasn't keeping adequate records when it comes to hiring.

The annual report also looks at the Department of Municipal Affairs, and issues with budgets not being filed to the provincial government.

The auditor general's office also found issues with the Western Health Authority, and improper human resources practices at the government's Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, and the government purchasing agency when it comes to exceptions to the Public Tendering Act.

In total, the report runs 780 pages long, and delves into detail in 13 different chapters on various departments and agencies.

•••

(Earlier story)

Auditor General Terry Paddon this morning presented his 2012 Report on Reviews of Departments and Crown Agencies, and his report on the Audit of the Consolidated Summary Financial Statements of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador for the Year Ended March 31, 2012, to the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

The report on reviews of departments and crown agencies contains commentary and recommendations related to 13 reviews of departments and Crown agencies. The report also contains responses from those who were reviewed.

The report covers the following areas:

Occupational Health and Safety in Government; College of the North Atlantic; Income Support and Accounts Receivables; Pesticides Control;      Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation – Regulatory Services; HealthLine; Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information; Western Regional Health Authority; Monitoring of Municipalities; Special Assistance Grant Program; Forest Industry Diversification Program; Government Purchasing Agency – Public Tender Act Exceptions; Insurance Adjusters, Agents and Brokers Regulation

The report is available on the Office of the Auditor General website at www.ag.gov.nl.ca/ag/reports.htm

The Audit of the Consolidated Summary Financial Statements report highlights a number of areas which will impact the finances of the province in the future:

• The Province recorded a surplus of $883 million for the year ended March 31, 2012, however, a deficit of $726 million is now forecast for 2012-13.

• The Province remains heavily reliant on the offshore oil sector for a substantial portion of provincial revenues.

• Commodity prices are set in global markets and are impacted by factors outside the Province’s ability to control. Volatility and uncertainty of commodity prices will continue to influence the provinces financial outlook.

• 2012-13 is the first year, since 1998-99, that the Province will not receive revenue from the equalization offset provisions of the 1985 Atlantic Accord. In 2011-12, the Province received $536 million under this arrangement.

• While Provincial Net Debt has declined to $7.8 billion at March 31, 2012, a forecast deficit in 2012-13 of $726 million will push Net Debt to an estimated $8.9 billion by March 31, 2013.

• Provincial obligations related to employee future benefits (Pensions and Group Health and Life Insurance) continue to increase.  The combined liability exceeds $5 billion at March 31, 2012.

• Expenses have grown by $3.1 billion from 2002-03 to 2011-12, a cumulative growth rate of 66 per cent over this period.

• Per capita expenses in Newfoundland and Labrador are the highest of any province in Canada and are 50 per cent higher than the average of all other provinces for the year ended March 31, 2012.

• Spending on Tangible Capital Assets (infrastructure) averaged approximately $750 million in the fiscal years ended March 31, 2011 and 2012 – approximately 3 times greater than the average annual spending on Tangible Capital Assets from 2003 to 2010.

• Changing demographics in Newfoundland and Labrador will have a significant impact on the nature of services required, how they are delivered and their associated cost.

• Government will have to continue to closely monitor the continued sustainability of program expenditures, the unfunded pension liability and the liability for group health and life insurance retirement benefits.

 

The Auditor General’s Report is available on the Office of the Auditor General website at www.ag.gov.nl.ca/ag/reports.htm

•••

(Earlier story)

Auditor General Terry Paddon will release his first report on the government's finances later this morning.

The auditor general's office said the report will likely be coming out sometime between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Paddon took on the role as government finance watchdog this spring. He was previously deputy minister of the Department of Finance for eight years, so he knows his way around the government's financial books.

Typically, auditor general's reports examine public spending to look at whether departments are following protocols and getting good value for taxpayer dollars.

It was former auditor general John Noseworthy who originally exposed the House of Assembly constituency spending scandal.

In recent years, the office has taken the government to task for everything from financial sloppiness at the crown corporation that runs the Marble Mountain ski resort, to improper record keeping dealing with RNC firearms.

Once the report is released, The Telegram will be providing full coverage online and indepth coverage in Thursday's full edition.

Organizations: Department of Finance, The Telegram

Geographic location: Marble Mountain

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Recent comments

  • kevin walsh
    January 24, 2013 - 00:56

    Well, what a blistering account of the Dunderarse crowd! Its time people stood up and stop acting like fools and pretending this crowd is the cream of the crop! Imagine if the AG was allowed to fully dig into government bureauracy....i bet it would be even worse than this? This woman preaches austerity and then appoints her friends and her government friends to high paying jobs, with no regard for anyone or anything! They are throwing our hard earned tax dollars to the wind and she doesnt give a hoot! This the same woman who stood in the ditches years ago when FPI ( I think) was going to take the machinery and equipment out of the fish plant in Burin??? Shame Shame Shame A crowd or kids would do a better job at running this province, than what we have there now!! Where are all the other comments? Isnt' this a free country? Didn't our forebearers from this Rock go to war and die so we could have the freedoms we have today, one of them is the freedom of speech....so come on people and speak up!

  • DON II
    January 23, 2013 - 21:15

    To Happily Retired: If the Auditor General had adequate staffing and resources, a confidential telephone tip line and was receiving conflict of interest disclosures, copies of lawsuits and criminal complaints from the Courts, due diligence reports, copies of Corporate Directors information which contain the names of current or former Government or Town Council employees, real estate transaction reports, detailed financial records, land zoning and rezoning applications, appeals against municipal council decisions, funding and project contracts, criminal background and bankruptcy files and copies of the applications for funding and permits submitted to Government departments, agencies and town councils he would soon be able to connect the dots. However, there would be considerable investigative and analysis work involved and a willingness to ask hard questions and the competence to do that work.

  • we are in such "good" hands
    January 23, 2013 - 18:33

    will the people demand anything be done?? not a chance.. the cons will not demand that their friends be investigated and the Liberals will not demand that their friends be investigated so the cycle continues.. until we or our children hit "that" iceberg. ps. before anyone asks.. the NDP don't have enough members to worry about.

  • Margaret
    January 23, 2013 - 14:40

    You know where billions of dollars can be saved? Investigate all of the Welfare Recepients. Not only do they get their rent, heat, electricity, medications, etc., paid for but some even get taxis paid for to go to doctors' and psychiatrists' appointments, and in the meantime they are enjoying their cigarettes and beer and booze to their hearts' content.. I know of one lady who tells all her family and friends to come to her NL house to do their laundry because she doesn't have to pay anything no matter how much the washer and dryer run up the electric bill, and if these appliances break down, she will get them fixed for nothing, or better yet, new ones.

  • Laugh if you think they're accountable
    January 23, 2013 - 14:06

    This governments lies and secrets are starting to catch up with them. They may act like lance armstrong when they finally get the 10 billion out of us for muskratfalls. Nah! I wouldn't want to go zipp lining with em' either.

  • CORRUPTION AT WORK
    January 23, 2013 - 13:33

    REPORTS,REPORTS, REPORTS, its just a waste of time, money, and paper. no matter what the auditor finds, no one, and i will repeat NO ONE will be held accountable for their actions. no matter who they maybe. liberal, conservative, ndp, federally, provincially, municipal. they are all in for their own selfish needs, tared with the same brush, and CORRUPT to the bone.

    • david
      January 23, 2013 - 14:11

      I disagree. If not for a report telling me how utterly wasted all my hard-ewarned tax money is, I would get nothing at all. There's a report.....so I got that goin' for me.

  • Sean Flynn
    January 23, 2013 - 11:10

    Are we headed for an iceberg? The figures say yes.

  • Don II
    January 23, 2013 - 11:08

    It is good to know that the Government of Newfoundland will post a deficit this fiscal year. However, it would be better to know how deeply Is the Auditor General being allowed to probe in order to discover the schemes that are employed by Government to abuse the Public? Is the Auditor General being allowed to probe to determine how many frauds are perpetrated against the Government? Does the Auditor General know how many applications for funding were approved for certain purposes but the funds were used for other purposes without approval? Does the Auditor General know how many back dated letters are issued by the Government and for what purposes? Does the Auditor know how often people are informed in advance of future public tenders so they can prepare their bids to conform to exact specifications? Does the Auditor General know how many projects were being completely managed and tendered by the recipients of the funding themselves and not by the Government? How many contracts were awarded to friends and relatives? How many contract kickbacks occurred? Is it acceptable for a Municipal Government employee or his/her relatives to form a real estate holding company that buys properties that are being sold by a municipality for unpaid back taxes? Is it acceptable for Municipal Government Councillors and/or their relatives to be directors of Corporations and to be voting in favor of approving permits or land rezoning for those corporations? Does the Auditor General investigate this kind of activity or is it outside of his jurisdiction? Is it acceptable for a Town Council to zone someones land as "rural" without their knowledge and consent to prevent them from developing their land and then re-zone the land as "Commercial" for the new owner after the original owner was forced to sell his worthless land for a pittance? It appears that the Government of Newfoundland is such a cozy collegial club comprised of friendly and sometimes related intimates that nobody wants to investigate or confront anybody else inside the system regardless of what they may be up to! At present, the Auditor General is virtually a toothless paper tiger armed with a squeak instead of a roar as far a the Government of Newfoundland is concerned. Under the current law, the Auditor General has to be "invited" to investigate any irregularities or frauds in the system by the House of Assembly to whom he must later report! That is like having a law that requires the Police to be "invited" to investigate an illegal drug dealer but only upon receiving the invitation from the illegal drug dealer himself! The Government of Newfoundland is a cancer that needs to be regularly examined, surgically excised and continually treated to a high dose of investigative radiation and chemotherapy to keep it from growing out of control. The MHA spending scandal was just one small example of the serious crime, cover-up, corruption and fraud which exists inside the system and is likely happening right under the Government's nose. The Auditor General should be provided with more investigative powers and resources in order to identify those responsible for the schemes, scams, frauds, wastage, willful blindness and abuses of the system which are likely going on undetected inside Government departments, agencies and municipalities.

    • Happily Retired
      January 23, 2013 - 13:57

      DonII, It sounds like you have some specific charges. You should report them to the AG. It would be difficult to pick up this kind of stuff in an audit without knowing what to look for.

  • Scott Free
    January 23, 2013 - 08:53

    Betchya it'll be hard to find one of the Ministers of the Clown from the Blunderfest Administration today. They won't be clammering for the spotlight; instead, they'll be hiding from shame and distancing themselves from the lies, deceit, coverups and patronage plums that will be exposed. Let's hope the AG report is not blacked-out like the releases to media under the Secrecy Act, a dangerous piece of democracy thumping, enacted by that Secret Society known as the Con Party of NL.

    • hate Free
      January 23, 2013 - 12:35

      Just another day at the hate office.