May 9, 2017; Liverpool, NS: Recommendations from the Joint Municipal Accountability and Transparency (JMAT) Committee will be adopted by the Region of Queens Municipality’s Council. The Committee consists of representatives from the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the Association of Municipal Administrators, and the Department of Municipal Affairs.
The purpose of the JMAT report was to ensure that mechanisms are in place to support the requirement of local government’s transparency and accountability to the public, strengthen expense policies, increase transparency of local government staff and elected officials expenses to the public, improve audit function of said expenses, and effect amendments to the Municipal Government Act.
“Council embraces these recommendations as consistent to our priority of governing to best practices. More openness and transparency is good government and is expected by our community” said David Dagley, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality.
“Our current policies highly align with the committee recommendations. While there will be some subtle policy changes which will come back to Council in due course, we will implement the direction immediately,” added CAO Richard MacLellan.
The expense reports for elected officials and Municipal staff are posted on the Region of Queens website to accompany the quarterly financial statements, as was released in 2015/2016; this information is posted in the Council & Mayor section www.regionofqueens.com/council-governance/council-mayor-for-cg.
The Region of Queens Audit Committee will see a change as a result of the recommendations in the JMAT report. Currently, the Audit Committee is made up of all members of Council, as is standard practice across Nova Scotia. A volunteer will be sought to fill the position of Independent member of the Audit Committee, as per the recommendations of the JMAT report. This volunteer position will be advertised in near future, along with the skills required. A new Terms of Reference for the modified Audit Committee will be developed.
The adoption of the recommendations of the JMAT report regarding transparency and accountability supports Council’s strategic priority of governing to the best Municipal practices.