October 1, 2007
Internal controls working well and as intended
Edmonton—The Auditor General released a report today which indicates that all payments of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta have been made in accordance with existing policies and guidelines and that the systems are operating as intended.
“I am pleased but not surprised by the Auditor General’s findings,” said Ken Kowalski, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. “The Legislative Assembly Office (LAO) is diligent in its responsibility in ensuring that payments are made in accordance with the guidelines and established policy. The Auditor General’s conclusion is a strong endorsement of the controls that are in place.”
Speaker Kowalski added he is in support of the LAO’s and Members’ Services Committee’s ongoing initiatives to strengthen those guidelines and policies.
“I have requested that the recommendations identified in the report be placed on the agenda for review by the Special Standing Committee on Member Services (MSC), at its October 24 and 25 meeting,” he said. The Auditor General reported that “we found no purchase of gifts or promotional items by Members that were contrary to policies and guidelines.”
“At the same time he asked us to clarify these policies and guidelines and we will,” said Speaker Kowalski.
The temporary residence allowance payments are a direct result of the application of the rules stemming from the changes to the legislature calendar brought about by the House Leaders’ agreement and Temporary Standing Order changes in the spring of 2007.
“I am having this matter reviewed,” said Kowalski.
Effective April 1, 2006, the Members’ Service Committee approved the implementation of a new Constituency Compensation Plan for constituency office staff. “The LAO will continue to assist Members in this transition period to ensure a standard of fairness and equity in the compensation package offered to all constituency staff,” added Kowalski.The Members’ Services committee is an all-party committee consisting of 11 Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Chaired by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, the committee has a mandate to approve the annual estimates of the LAO and may modify regulations, orders or other directives governing its financial and personnel administration.