Peterson-Rafuse: McNeil’s comments raise questions about selection of new Auditor General

March 13, 2014

NDP MLA Denise Peterson-Rafuse says the lack of transparency around the selection of Nova Scotia’s new Auditor General is cause for concern.

Today following Cabinet Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters that a committee has been struck to select the new Auditor General and that there is a “list of names” of candidates to be considered to replace Jacques Lapointe.

This is a far cry from the process that took place in 2005, the last time the province hired a new Auditor General. At that time an open and independent search and selection process was led by an all-party steering committee of NDP MLA Graham Steele, Liberal MLA Keith Colwell and PC MLA Michael Baker.

A professional recruitment firm and the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission assisted the steering committee. Interviews were performed and recommendations were given by an independent committee comprised of representatives from the legal and professional accounting communities.

Read the 2005 release: http://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20051208003.

Peterson-Rafuse says at this point the public has no idea if the same steps are being followed in the process of hiring a new Auditor General.

“Other than a few comments from the Premier, the public is in the dark about the selection of Jacques Lapointe’s replacement,” said Peterson-Rafuse. “Who is on the selection committee? Has a head-hunting firm been hired, and if so who is it?”

Given the important role the Auditor General plays in government, Peterson-Rafuse says there must not be any questions about patronage or political interference. She says a resolution must be passed in the legislature to finalize the process but with a Liberal majority that is essentially a moot point.

“It’s crucial the public has trust in the Auditor General to be entirely non-partisan and objective. That was the case with Jacques Lapointe and I’m not sure why the Liberal government wouldn’t follow the same process as last time. Clearly it worked,” added Peterson-Rafuse.