The MississaugaWatch Sniff Test

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Do you support asking the Ontario government to extend the investigative authority of the Ontario Ombudsman to include municipalities?

If the answer is not an UNQUALIFIED "Yes!", ask "Why not?" and proceed with extreme caution.


MIRROR: Complete Mississauga Judicial Inquiry Transcripts

“A lot of things in here were dealt with years ago and it’s a complete disregard for policy.” Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion confirms MISSISSAUGAWATCH Freedom of Information findings regarding City staff

May 20th, 2009  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Today’s just a continuation from my last Blog.

Again, have to admit that it was uplifting to (finally) hear Mayor Hazel McCallion despair to the degree that she did about her City staff’s failure to follow City policies.

Ahhhhhhhhhh to hear McCallion observe that, “There seems to be a complete disregard for policy —following policy…” (Sweet.)

And then, after Commissioner of Corporate Services’ Brenda Breault’s lame, “There have been significant improvements,” McCallion having none of it and countering with, “A lot of things in here were dealt with years ago and it’s a complete disregard for policy… following policy, in my opinion”, all I can say is, “Welcome to my World!”

So. Read it now.  The May 11, 2009 Audit Committee meeting “HAZEL MCCALLION: on City Staff’s “complete disregard” for Policies” YouTube transcript (below).

HAZEL MCCALLION: on City Staff’s “complete disregard” for Policies   (10:06 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

May 11, 2009 Audit Committee transcript.

Capital Projects Contract Auditor:

During the course of the audit, we worked with management so that there’s no surprises at the end of the audit. We don’t just simply give a final report and say “Surprise, these are observations we’ve made and concerns that we have”.

We sit down with management as we go through the audit and say exactly what our concerns are so that they have time to address them.  And as you can see by the end of June of this year approximately seven recommendations will be completed. And also that formal evaluation criteria will be completed by mid-2010.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

On that point.. on that point, there was a procedure set up years ago for vendor [inaudible]. Did you find any trace of it?

Capital Projects Contract Auditor:

It’s just an informal vendor performance review right now. It’s not, there’s no formal process in there—

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

There was a policy established. Every vendor, especially on major contracts, like when we had bad experience —and we have had some bad experience, there was a policy established years ago that the vendor would be categorized. And in fact some would be cut off from future contracts.

Capital Projects Contract Auditor:

That’s not in there.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

Did you find a trace of it?

Capital Projects Contract Auditor:

No, it’s not in there.

Mississauga Councillor Pat Mullin:

The answer’s no.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

It was set up. I  can tell you.

Mississauga Councillor Carmen Corbasson:

I remember the discussion.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

(turns to Councillor Corbasson) Do you remember?

Mississauga Councillor Carmen Corbasson:

I remember the discussion.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

Some of you who’ve been around long will remember. It was set up. So obviously it got lost in the shuffle somewhere. Cuz we ran into some bad examples. And that’s when we set up the policy. That’s years ago. That’s not —ten years ago, would I be right? At least. So what happened to it?

Sally Eng, Director, Internal Audit:

There is some mention of a purchasing By-law where we would be able to —or the purchasing agent has the authority to,  prevent the bidder from bidding in future contracts. But we have not been able to find any detailed processes relating to what you’re talking about.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

OK.

Mississauga Councillor Pat Mullin:

[inaudible] that we should look into, I guess for the future. Because I remember the discussion.

[inaudible  —several speakers at once]:

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

I’m getting a little frustrated as Mayor as we set up policies and then they’re not followed. And that’s what bothers me. I was in the business —in the private sector and we had millions of dollars in contracts. And it’s been something I’ve been promoting  —is control of contracts. And that policy was set up because we ran into one vendor who were [sic] behind two millions dollars, I remember.

Anyway.

So now we’re going to set up one up. Fine.

Someone:

Yeah.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

If we set one up, it better be followed. That is the key. No use setting it up if it’s not going to be followed. You know, I don’t know why there’s such a disregard for policy.

Capital Projects Contract Auditor:

Just to conclude. Working with Facilities and Property Management, we’ve had a good rapport with them and I just want to thank Ken—

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

The guy that did the renovations at the . I hope he never sees another contract. Am I right?

Mississauga Councillor Carmen Corbasson:

And the one at the [inaudible]

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

And the one at the [inaudible]

Mississauga Councillor Carmen Corbasson:

That was a bad one.

Capital Projects Contract Auditor:

And I’ll be honest with you that’s—

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

Now that was a bad one.

Mississauga Councillor Carmen Corbasson:

I think that’s when it was raised.

Capital Projects Contract Auditor:

[inaudible] of this audit, Madam Mayor they, ah,  that contractor again, there was no formal evaluation for those contracts. And that’s why we recommended that that be formalized and documented.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

There was even an evaluation form used many years ago because of our bad experience with contractors and we’d see their name pop up again being awarded a contract.

Mississauga Councillor Pat Mullin:

Any other questions on this?  Councillor Corbasson.

Mississauga Councillor Carmen Corbasson:

Again, I’ll raise the issue that I raised under the external audit. I don’t expect an answer today but I think that this is probably the appropriate forum to bring a report back to. I’m surprised that it wouldn’t be caught through audits in the past —notwithstanding how do we get to twelve years of not charging utilities. And of course now we’re going to try and play catch up. And I’d like some answers how we got  to where we are today and what we put in place to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

I know there’s more besides the two in my ward. Plus staff did confirm that. I didn’t go into the details but there are others that have fallen through the cracks so to speak. So I’d like a report to come back to audit.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

Well, I’m not happy with the report, I can tell you. I’m not happy with the contents of the report. There seems to be a complete disregard for policy —following policy.

[reading] “There is no  [inaudible]  to evaluate vendor performance.” There was. Not followed. In my opinion.

And then it goes on. I mean there’s so many things in this report -that indicates-

[reading] “The contract could receive double credit for the deposit and is eventually refunded by the region.” I mean [inaudible] This is not a good report on the management of the finances of contracts, I’m sorry. It is a very poor report. Very poor performance.

And we’ve dealt with contracts over the years. It’s been one of the —one of the things that the Audit Committee  —cuz we’re issuing contracts for millions of dollars. And here we have one guy approving  —[inaudible]  is that?  Where’s the one where there’s one person has been given authority —or has assumed authority.

Sales taxes. We don’t know where we’re going on sales taxes. You know I read this report  —very discouraging, I have to tell you as Mayor, of the control of contracts.

It’s hard to determine whether [inaudible] came out at the top or came out way at here: [reading]  “In general there’s segregation of duties in the processing of approval of payments.” We dealt with that years ago.  That there should be a process of approval of payments  —not one individual given, well [inaudible] [reading] “Project Manager is the only one involved in clarifying, processing and approving payments for cash allowance and [inaudble]”

That’s one that you looked at.  How many more that you didn’t look at has [sic] the same arrangement, I don’t know.

I’m very disappointed, I have to tell you. This is not a good report. And boy there needs to be some tough action taken to implement financial control, I have to tell you. It’s just not a good report.

Commissioner of Corporate Services, Brenda Breault

Just a clarification on [inaudible] Madam Mayor, that is being highlighted in here that the staff have to take action on. But some of the things that have been identified have been corrected [inaudible]. There have been some significant improvements since the whole audit process has begun.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

When?

Commissioner of Corporate Services, Brenda Breault

2007, they started—

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

Yeah!—

Commissioner of Corporate Services, Brenda Breault

Now these projects began before some of the corrections and improvements have been made in our project management processes. I have staff now from our financial services group who are going in and taking a look at the projects as well in the interim —[inaudible] interim audit to ensure that they have a project manual in place now. And that things are being followed and that the proper documentation and authorization and all the rest is occurring.

These projects, two of the three, started before we got all these pieces in place before we got all these improvements that they’ve been working on over the last couple of years in place.

The most recent project, which was the Vic Johnston, was completed after we’ve made all these improvements —and certainly it was much better managed. You can speak to Internal Audit on that —that we have made significant improvement in how we are handling our processes.

That’s not to say that there’s not still work to be done, there is. I mean taxes tend to be a complicated area where many of our operating departments are not clear on when, you know PST vs GST and what’s refundable. And we’re working on that as well as the whole legislation is going to change on that when we go to a harmonized tax.

So that will impact how we apply tax as well. But we are still working on that and I wouldn’t want to give you the impression that things have not gotten significantly better since some of the shortfalls you’ve seen in these projects which will impact audit in this report. Because it’s not the case. There have been significant improvements.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

Brenda. That is now.

A lot of these items that are in here were dealt with years ago. The Policy. The corrections. The advice, etc at Audit Committees. So if any improvements have been made, it’s only recently. And that to me doesn’t answer my question.

A lot of things in here were dealt with years ago and it’s a complete disregard for policy.  Following policy, in my opinion.

Why would anybody on a major contract be the one signing officer to approve all payments and all credits and everything? Not acceptable. And that has been in place for years and years.

You know there’s audit reports  —I have a stack of them like this [gestures] and I’m going to go through, when I have time, to point out that many of the things in here were dealt with years ago. Dealt with years ago. And are not being followed.

Long long pause….

TRANSCRIPT ENDS

Signed,

The (Now imagine a “complete disregard” for policies pertaining to treatment of citizens and youth) Mississauga Muse

HAZEL MCCALLION (maybe) finally getting it about her Employees' "TRUST, QUALITY, EXCELLENCE"

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