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Cypress County council to consider forming audit committee

Posted on May 23, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Anna Smith
Southern Alberta Newspapers

Cypress County is considering putting together a financial audit committee in order to help ensure transparency and adherence to bylaws.

The motion was first put forward by Coun. Robin Kurpjuweit at the April 3 meeting as a notice of motion, and resurfaced on May 7.

Acting CAO Steven Toews noted this was something that has also been considered from the administrative side, with intent to present something close to September. He noted that “some pros of this audit committee could be enhanced accountability, improved transparency, risk mitigation, efficiencies and effectiveness. And one of the cons could be that it will be a little bit more resource intensive than looking to our finance and accounting supervisor.”

The idea, said Kurpjuweit, is having “spot audits” and checks to ensure that policies and procedures are being followed, and that these policies work as intended.

“As a foster parent, I’ll bring in some of my own experience with working with big government and big systems and big legislation. Sometimes when it gets complicated, there’s policies and procedures that are set that may not work real well,” said Kurpjuweit.

He added that ideally he would like it to work from a financial and administrative standpoint, but was open to how such a committee might look, and was inclined to lean toward administration’s wishes to ensure it would accomplish what everyone was looking for.

The motion itself was referred to as a “straw dog,” by Toews, something put forward largely to facilitate discussion and “opportunity to kind of roll up our sleeves and take a little bit closer look at the county finances.”

The motion was met with a mixed reaction from councillors, with some in favour of the creation of the committee, and others feeling it was already the duty of council to review policies and procedures. It was put forward to potentially put a review of policies on rotation at meetings until each had been reviewed as a possible alternative to the committee.

“A lot of the times when we get a policy that comes back, it’s been looked through by administration, not necessarily county council as a whole,” said Coun. Dustin Vossler. “We go through it four days before, and that’s our time to go through and make our decisions.”

Vossler continued that he believed that a committee would allow for a few members to go through policies and their applications in more depth, even if they do end up being presented to a committee of the whole in the end. He also added that there may be value to a select committee, as different ideas may get brought to the table depending on the people who are present.

The motion will be brought back in July, with administration to come forward with a more concrete idea as to how the proposed committee would function.

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