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Havixbeck demands audit of police HQ overruns

Says, 'The worst is yet to come at city hall'

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Unanswered questions surrounding the $17.2-million cost overruns at the new police headquarters building need to be subjected to an audit.

Coun. Paula Havixbeck said the mishandling of the police HQ project likely exceeds the mess with the fire hall replacement scandal, adding no questions are being asked why or who is responsible.

"There does not appear to be any consequence," to the project’s cost overruns, Havixbeck said. "It’s imperative to how people view the level of transparency and whether we’re making good decisions here."

'His silence was bought'

Havixbeck said former CAO Phil Sheegl was a key individual in both projects yet he was allowed to resign before he could answer any questions about either project.

"His silence was bought," Havixbeck said of Sheegl’s departure, adding she remains dismayed that other senior administrators have remained silent about what took place or are not being held accountable for their involvement in both projects.

"I’m not convinced the fire hall audit was the worst," scandal, Havixbeck said. "I think the worst is yet to come at city hall."

Finance chairman Russ Wyatt said he is concerned that council will uncover a series of problems as a result of Sheegl’s tenure as CAO.

However, Wyatt refused to allow Havixbeck to discuss an examination of Sheegl’s role or that of any contractors during the committee meeting, adding he was concerned the committee would be leaving itself open to legal action.

Havixbeck said it was assumed that both the police headquarters purchase and project management would be subject to the extensive five-year real estate review being conducted by city auditor Brian Whiteside. However, she said the mismanagement of the project is not part of the audit.

Havixbeck said council needs to instruct Whiteside to include the police HQ project in his review or order a separate audit.

"Everything (connected to Sheegl) that is put in front of us we need to scrutinize very, very carefully and many of the people involved in that fire hall file," Havixbeck said.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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