Local News

Auditor offered two more years

B.C. Auditor General John Doyle - Black Press files
B.C. Auditor General John Doyle
— image credit: Black Press files

B.C. Auditor General John Doyle has been offered a two-year extension that would carry his term to October, 2015, the eight-year mandate suggested by Premier Christy Clark for future financial watchdogs.

The five-MLA committee announced their unanimous decision to offer the extension Wednesday, after a closed-door meeting to consider Clark's suggestion. Clark said the government will present amendments in the legislature in February to create a non-renewable eight-year term for all future provincial auditors.

The committee's B.C. Liberal majority initially rejected the idea of reappointing Doyle and advertised for a replacement. Committee members are forbidden from speaking publicly about how they voted or reasons why, because it is a personnel matter.

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster, the committee chair, said the decision to reappoint Doyle was unanimous. Foster refused to comment further on how the committee came to accept Doyle's reappointment, or the decision to limit the term to two more years, except to note that it matches with the intended legislation proposed by Clark.

Foster was the subject of a random audit by Doyle two years ago that raised questions about his constituency office renovations. The other two B.C. Liberals who form the majority are Chilliwack MLA John Les and Peace River South MLA Blair Lekstrom, both of whom are not seeking re-election in May.

Burnaby-Deer Lake MLA Kathy Corrigan and Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston represent the NDP on the committee.

When the initial decision not reappoint Doyle became public last week, opposition MLAs cite Doyle's reports criticizing the recent buildup of BC Hydro debt and the state of B.C.'s forest inventory in the wake of a devastating pine beetle epidemic as likely reasons.

Doyle is also leading a court action seeking release of detailed defence lawyer billings for former ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bobby Virk, whose $6 million in legal costs were covered by the province after they pleaded guilty to breach of trust in the 2002 sale of BC Rail operations.

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