Embattled B.C. Auditor General John Doyle to move Down Under
Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 5, 2013 9:02AM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 5, 2013 8:28PM PST
VICTORIA -- British Columbia's embattled auditor general says he's taking a job in Australia after getting what he calls an embarrassing offer to extend the term of his current job by two years.
John Doyle said Tuesday the tensions that arose between him and the Liberal-dominated committee in charge of deciding whether or not to reappoint him for a second six-year term were huge factors in his decision to accept the Australian job.
"The real issue here is I felt my time here wasn't going to be as productive as I hoped and therefore I saw little point in staying longer when I think really what needs to happen is some new relationships need to be formed with a new auditor general dealing with a new group of politicians after the election," he said.
Doyle said knew he had to leave B.C. when the committee offered him a two-year extension after originally deciding against reappointing him to a second six-year term.
"I don't know where two years come from," he said. "It doesn't make sense to me. Two years is a bit embarrassing."
Doyle said he believes auditors general should be hired for a single 10-year term.
He said the premier of the Australian state of Victoria offered him the new job.
Premier Ted Baillieu said Tuesday in a statement that he is pleased Doyle decided to accept the position.
He noted Doyle's past as the former deputy auditor general of Western Australia and B.C.'s auditor general since 2007 makes him well qualified for the job.
"Mr. Doyle has a distinguished professional career in Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada," Baillieu said in the statement.
"The auditor general has an essential role in ensuring that public funds are not only spent in line with the appropriations made by parliament, but also that those funds are spent effectively to the benefit of Victorians."
B.C.'s all-party legislative committee caused a furor last month when it decided not to reappoint Doyle for a second term.
The committee revised its decision and offered Doyle the two-year posting after public outcry prompted B.C. Premier Christy Clark to pledge amended legislation holding auditors general to a single eight-year term.
The committee's vote against Doyle prompted the Opposition New Democrats to say he was shunned because his work routinely criticized the government, which heads into an election in May.
Doyle had not yet replied to the government's offer of a two-year extension when the Australian premier announced he'd been hired.
The public watchdog recently announced a review of the $500,000 renovation of BC Place in Vancouver after concerns about cost overruns.
He also launched a court challenge to get more information about the government's decision to pay $6 million in legal bills for two former ministerial aides who pleaded guilty to corruption charges, although a judge rejected the application citing lawyer-client privilege.
Doyle said he plans to stay on in Victoria until October, but the Australian statement says he will start there on or before July 1.