Last week’s story about two Keremeos taxpayers who were apparently mistakenly charged a late payment fee due to a clerical error at the village office brought a disappointing response from the Chief Administrative Officer, who offered bureaucratic mumbo jumbo to explain what happened.
It’s a theme Canadians are finding all too prevalent in their dealings with those in the public service these days – an apparent inability by those running our public institutions to be accountable.
We believe Keremeos taxpayers have a right to know how the error occurred, how many residents were affected, and steps taken to ensure that such an instance won’t happen again – not to point a finger in any direction, as everyone makes mistakes, whether they want to admit it or not – but to reassure the taxpayer that every dollar that is paid into the system is treated with respect – and accounted for honestly and openly.
It’s the same reason we post annual remunerations and expenses paid to politicians and high salaried public officials.
Today’s current imbalance between public and private sector wages demands that taxpayers have some idea as to what their elected officials and senior bureaucrats make and take home in expense payments. Because of the oppotunities to make salary and remuneration choices that are self serving at this level, public scrutiny is absolutely essential in order for there to be any chance of fairness in the system.
As we have seen at the federal level with respect to the current Senate scandal over inappropriate expense spending, public scrutiny and the voice of public opinion is often the only thing standing in the way of such corruption, and it’s necessary at every level of government.