Fredericton — Interested in making a six-figure salary to criticize and chastise local politicians, all with the public’s support? Then you may want to consider applying with the Auditor General’s Office.
In what is probably her 487th report this year, Auditor general Kim MacPherson slammed various government departments late last week for its indifference toward children, failing to retain nurses and for its general spendthrift attitude.
And she does it all with a furrowed brow.
“As an auditor, you aren’t there to make friends,” she told The Manatee. “After all, an audit is the financial equivalent of a colonoscopy. It’s no laughing matter.”
The same could be said about New Brunswick’s financial picture. Since assuming office in 2011, she has watched the province’s debt balloon from $10.1 billion to $14 billion — a huge number for a province of only 750,000. MacPherson has been sounding the alarm for eight years and says government’s failure to heed her warnings also helps to explain her dour disposition.
“Conservative, Liberal and Conservative again, it doesn’t matter who’s in office,” she said. “I’ve filed reports. I’ve sat in front of committees. I sorted out the SNB property assessment fiasco in 2017 but we’re still seeing inflated property tax bills today. It seems for every step we take forward we take two steps back.”
Despite the depressing results and government’s blasé attitude toward fiscal responsibility, MacPherson remains popular among New Brunswickers, as evidenced by her nomination for the prestigious Maritimer of the Week award in 2017. And while she came in as the runner-up to popular meteorologist Cindy Day, it doesn’t stop average citizens from lauding her work.
Johnny McNamara, taxpayer-advocate and this year’s recipient of the CBC’s coveted “Most Comments” award, sympathized with MacPherson’s heavy workload.
“She is so busy dealing with mismanaged money and general government incompetence that she has to file two or three reports at a time. I can’t imagine how much worse it would be if Kim wasn’t there to scold those fat-cat politicians every few weeks.”
While MacPherson appreciates the support and understands why she is perceived as being stern and frosty, she insists she does know how to have fun.
“I laugh all the time. Haha. Haha. See?”