05/18/2012 12:14 EDT | Updated 07/18/2012 05:12 EDT

New Brunswick sets terms for water commissions following scathing report

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government is proposing legislative amendments that would subject water and waste water commissions to new rules and greater accountability.

The move follows a scathing report last fall by the province's auditor general that found a litany of "questionable" expenditures by the Moncton Sewerage Commission.

Kim MacPherson found that the commission spent almost $20,000 for three Christmas parties and thousands of dollars in personal payments to the board chairman without any supporting invoices.

MacPherson made several recommendations, including one that called on the government to review the makeup of commissions and length of terms.

Under the proposed changes to the Clean Environment Act, the term of a commission member would be set at four years, but they could be re-appointed to serve up to a maximum of 12 years.

Commissions would have to provide financial statements and reports to communities and the environment minister.

They would also have to hold an annual general meeting that would be open to the public.