The provincial government’s appointee to Village of Morrin council approved the audited 2019 financial statements at the regular meeting Dec. 16. The meeting was held via teleconference to meet pandemic guidelines.
Harold Johnsrude was appointed by former Minister of Municipal Affairs Tracy Allard as the village’s official administrator (OA) to act as village council until the next municipal election scheduled for Oct., 2021.
Johnsrude noted the audited financial statements had been supplied to him by the village’s official auditor Endeavour Accounting and the statements were dated July 29, 2020.
He noted the financial statements were subsequently presented to council in September.
Johnsrude noted the auditor stated the financial information accurately represented the financial situation of the village. He moved and passed a motion to approve the 2019 audited financial statements as presented.
Johnsrude stated he was also made aware of a letter to the editor printed in a local newspaper that went into considerable detail as it listed concerns with what the financial statements contained and how those results were arrived at.
Johnsrude stated he was not going to respond to the numbers stated in the letter.
Johnsrude also stated, after reviewing past council meeting minutes, he was concerned that there had been requests to see past bank reconciliation information and bank statements as these statements don’t always tell the whole financial story.
He also noted there had been certain demands that the official village auditor work independently, which Johnsrude stated he felt was unfair because the Village of Morrin only has two staff.
Johnsrude stated the 2019 audited and approved financial statement would be posted publicly on the village website, which is currently a work in progress.
As pandemic measures continue and in-person meetings aren’t possible, he noted that he’d like to see regular council meetings conducted visually rather than teleconference.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner stated the village website is being updated by a local expert who has agreed to help the village.
She said she’s hoping to set up Zoom video meetings, hopefully beginning in Jan. 2021.
Regular financial reports
Johnsrude read an agenda item called “Financial report as of Nov. 30, 2020,” and stated it’s reasonable to expect such reports should be provided regularly to council throughout the year.
The OA noted this report was the first financial update provided to Morrin village council in 2020.
The OA also made a note to mention that in a previous council meeting a mistake had been made by council when they proposed a consultant prepare the 2020 budget excluding CAO Plachner from the process.
Johnsrude pointed out the CAO must implement the budget, and asking a CAO to be responsible for a budget she was left out of wasn’t proper.
Johnsrude stated during his regular report that when he was appointed, a letter from Minister Allard stated a preliminary review would be conducted into the Village of Morrin’s operations.
This means someone from Municipal Affairs in Edmonton would conduct some local information gathering and determine if an official inspection is required.
He further noted that all Morrin residents should have got a copy of this letter and added that he can be contacted through CAO Plachner.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter