Nova Scotia

Guysborough CAO defends spending policies, rejects comparisons to Richmond County

Barry Carroll, chief administrative officer of Guysborough, has posted a defence online of the municipality's policies.

Municipal head calls criticism 'nothing more than an attempt to seed discontent'

Guysborough's chief administrative officer Barry Carroll defends the municipality's new policy as the provincial ombudsman begins investigating. (CBC)

The head of a Nova Scotia municipality under scrutiny for its spending practices says it's a "model for other municipalities to follow."

Barry Carroll, chief administrative officer (CAO) of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, has posted a defence online of the municipality's policies.

"We lead the province's municipalities in almost all of the financial indicators.... We have been and will continue to be a model for other municipalities to follow," wrote Carroll. 

Carroll declined an interview earlier this fall when CBC News investigated the municipality and found public officials spent thousands of dollars on gift cards, parties and alcohol.

Earlier this month, Guysborough updated its travel and expense policies, but the new rules still allow the purchase of alcohol.

'Single largest employer'

Municipal officials again refused to comment on the changes this week, even though a local resident was highly critical in an interview on CBC's Mainstreet.

Susanne Roy said she spoke up on behalf of people too afraid to say anything,

"They work for them or their family works for them because the municipality is the single largest employer," she said.

In the report posted on the municipality's website, Carroll called that a "completely false statement," and added that "the comment was nothing more than an attempt to seed discontent."

Not like Richmond, CAO says

Carroll also objected to any comparisons between Guysborough and Richmond County, which is now the focus of investigations by the RCMP and Elections Nova Scotia.

He pointed out that the provincial ombudsman is investigating Guysborough based on complaints by residents, but an ombudsman's probe in Richmond was triggered by the municipality's own auditor.

Carroll said members of the Office of the Ombudsman will be visiting the county before the end of November. He said municipal officials "welcome their involvement and will cooperate fully."

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca

With files from CBC's Mainstreet