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Accept free audit from Auditor General, OPSEU tells NPCA

Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority building

Welland – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is calling on the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) to accept the Auditor General’s offer to conduct a free and comprehensive audit on the organization instead of paying up to $150,000 to a private firm for an “operational review.”

“Last month, the NPCA laid off a highly skilled worker, supposedly due to fiscal constraints,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Why is the NPCA spending $150,000 on consultants when they can get a full audit from the Auditor General’s team of experts for free?”

OPSEU Executive Board Member Lucy Morton is “appalled” at the NPCA’s upside-down approach to public accountability.

“The employee they laid off on Valentine’s Day was the only person who maintained the online data and maps that all of us in the public use to find out about wetlands, conservation areas and information about our properties. She also happened to be the head steward for OPSEU at the NPCA.

“The NPCA is wasting a ton of money on an audit they can get for free and paying more than 20 managers to supervise 30 employees in the bargaining unit,” Morton continued, “but they don’t have enough money to pay for staff who provide essential functions?

“We’re not buying it.”

Nine of the region’s municipalities, four area MPPs, and many residents have called on the scandal-plagued NPCA to submit to a proper financial audit and/or investigation for mismanagement.

OPSEU President Thomas said the Request for Proposals the NPCA has issued falls far short of what is needed.

“In my opinion, what the NPCA needs is a full forensic financial audit by a truly independent third party, not a few pages typed up by a bought-and-paid-for consultant who reports to senior management.”

The NPCA Board meets today at the Ball’s Falls Centre for Conservation.

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas 613-329-1931; Lucy Morton: 905-317-9464