CRDA continuing to study ombudsman's report

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Authority welcomes opportunity for organizational improvement

Officials with the Cumberland Regional Development Authority are continuing to study the final report of ombudsman Dwight Bishop.

AMHERST – Officials with the Cumberland Regional Development Authority are continuing to study ombudsman’s report on its financial practices that was released last week.

“The volunteer board of the Cumberland Regional Development Authority has received the report and is currently reviewing content and recommendations. Upon full review and assessment of the contents, the CRDA will issue a media statement in response,” CRDA executive director Rhonda Kelly said in a statement.

Last week, ombudsman Dwight Bishop formally called for a forensic audit of the authority. In his final report, the ombudsman slammed CRDA’s financial practices and the Nova Scotia Economic and Rural Development and Tourism’s oversight of the local development authority. The report said the level of oversight does not bring integrity to the accountability process for monitoring projects and expenditures of public funding.

Bishop said invoices were created and used to obtain funds from government without direct expenditures. He said the practices undermine the accountability process and brings into question matters of credibility and integrity.

He is calling for a forensic examination by the provincial auditor general. If the results are consistent with his findings, Bishop’s is recommending the matter be handed over to police.

The review stemmed from two former employees who claimed they were fired after they disclosed concerns to the CRDA board of executives that wrongdoings were taking place. The ombudsman has recommended the board acknowledge to the complainants they did not adequately address the concerns they raised.

Kelly said CRDA has co-operated fully with the ombudsman’s office and will continue to fulfill its role to facilitate regional community economic development and to work collaboratively with its partners.

“This includes the delivery of development support services expected from a regional development authority which has consistently exceeded operating expectations through the performance-based funding model of RDAs,” Kelly said in the statement. “The CRDA continues to be proud of its accomplishments and track record. We are recognized as a leader in regional community economic development in the province and we welcome any opportunity for overall organizational improvement intended to strengthen that role.”

Kelly said this is evident in the human resources strategic plan completed by Royer Thompson of Halifax and adopted by the CRDA board in fall of 2011. The plan is currently being implemented by the board and is considered a best practice model for RDAs in the province.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

 

Organizations: Cumberland Regional Development Authority, CRDA board, Nova Scotia Economic and Rural Development

Geographic location: Halifax

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Recent comments

  • sueb
    August 15, 2012 - 15:29

    Whoa! This is completely the wrong time to close ranks. With an election right around the corner any area politician who values his or her career should not be silent on this huge issue. You may not think you have anything to explain, but the voters know tax dollars were involved and they don't take this sort of thing lightly. Do you really think people aren't going to wonder why you didn't step up with an explanation or at the very least righteous indignation when the poo hit the fan!

  • Jordan
    August 15, 2012 - 08:39

    Our elected officials are strangely silent? Why are they ignoring this? Election coming soon.

  • Jane
    August 14, 2012 - 10:33

    It is surprising that the board has deferred all communications to the management at CREDA. It has been stressed over and over again that the board is a "volunteer" board which seems to be sending the message that they are either absolving themselves of responsibility or are not as competent as the paid management. The board has great liability in this whether they like it or not. At the very least they should have suspended the manager until the investigation is complete. Leaving the manager in place when the Ombudsman's report pointed the finger directly at her is the same as leaving the fox in the henhouse. Is it surprising that many of these board members are politicians? They don't have what it takes to make the truly tough and necessary decisions. This board will come under great scrutiny and it looks as though they just aren't up to the job.

  • English Bob
    August 13, 2012 - 21:55

    This would be hilarious if it wasn't so pathetic. Study the ombudsman's report? LOFL. Not going to change, thats the final product and you people are in it up to your eyeballs. You're all done and you know it. Did you get a load of the part where they conclude the results go to the RCMP for investigation? Fake invoices? Deceiving the provincial government? $25,000 worth of equipment obtained fraudulently? Complaints justified? Cancelled cheques after funds were issued? Integrity and propriety issues? maladministration? Who in their right minds is going to want to do business with CREDA after you created this mess? This is a disgrace. None of you have the moral authority to handling our money. WE've all seen what you're capable of and we've all seen enough.