01/12/2012 01:27 EST | Updated 03/13/2012 05:12 EDT

N.B. auditor raises concerns with reporting of office expenses for ministers

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's auditor general is calling for better reporting of expenses in the constituency offices of provincial cabinet ministers.

Kim MacPherson said while there is clear accounting of the expenses for the riding offices of regular members of the legislature that's not the case when departments pay a portion of the costs for offices of their ministers.

In a report, released Thursday, MacPherson said 11 of 26 departments were unable to provide complete and accurate information regarding constituency office expenses.

She said there is inconsistent reporting of expenses and one department spent almost $31,000 more than the authorized limit of $25,000 on expenses for constituency office staff.

"We're not aware of any abuse, but when the system is the way we found, there is the opportunity," she said.

MacPherson recommends all constituency office costs be paid by the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.

"We recommended that from this point forward, everything be administered by the clerk and that it be reported publicly all in one place."

MacPherson said the government had agreed to work with the Office of the Clerk to implement her recommendations.