Audit adds fuel to fire department probe

District of Sooke council authorizes the audit as well as a freeze on new equipment purchases

The Sooke Fire Department will undergo a financial audit as part of an in-depth review by the fire commission.

District of Sooke council last week authorized the audit as well as a freeze on new equipment purchases, except for any needed emergency equipment.

Council also wants any future spending for the fire department to include sign off by the district’s chief administrative officer.

“These steps are necessary to ensure proper financial management and controls are in place, appropriate oversight of the fire department assets is in place, budgets are appropriated according to the district’s policy and procedures, operational matters are appropriately addressed and all relevant provincial statutes are being followed,” said chief administrative officer Teresa Sullivan.

The District of Sooke Fire Commission in its first report to council says it has completed it initial review and recommended changes to the fire department budget by reducing the overtime shift budget by $25,000, professional development $18,000 and relief work and payment by $8,000.

It also removed planned equipment replacement of $80,700 and the replacement of squad 1 for $60,000.

Council approved the changes. The funds will be moved to the council and capital contingency funds for future use or after the audit is completed.

But not all councillors were eager to approve the plan.

Councillors Ebony Logins and Brenda Parkinson said they didn’t have enough information to vote with confidence, after Sullivan and fire commissioner Ken Ebbs-Canavan said they couldn’t comment on all the reasons for the budget changes and the audit request due to financial and personnel issues.

“I do not have the information to fully understand why this has happened. I do not have a problem with the audit. I think once the audit is in place and you have all the answers, then you can make an informed decision, but giving us a report and we have questions on what things mean and no answers given, I find it very hard to vote positively for that,” Parkinson said.

Added Logins: “It’s not that we don’t trust what the commission is doing, but it’s just ridiculous to make an uninformed decision.”

Ebbs-Canavan said the audit would answer questions the commission doesn’t have answers for yet.

Logins and Parkinson voted against the recommendations.

The fire commission was established last fall with the goal to conduct “long-term capital planning [with] high level overview,” according to a staff report.

Fire department operations remain with the fire chief.

The audit is expected to be concluded this spring.

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Colin Davidson won $100K on a Set for Life scratch ticket in Sooke. (BCLC photo)
Sooke man does ‘happy dance’ after scratching a $100,000 Set for Life win

Colin Davidson plans to renovate his home and invest in his daughter’s education

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read