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Police headquarters audit could be completed by election, union says

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The newly renovated PSB building at Smith Street and Graham Avenue is $76 million over budget.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS' Enlarge Image

The newly renovated PSB building at Smith Street and Graham Avenue is $76 million over budget. Photo Store

Pressure is mounting on city hall to conduct an audit of the troubled police headquarters project.

This morning, representatives of the city’s largest union and a conservative taxpayer group said an audit should be conducted and can be finished before the October election.

Colin Craig, Prairie director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and Mike Davison, president of CUPE Local 500, said they believe an audit can be done at a reasonable cost and in a short time frame.

Joining Craig and Davidson was Graham Lane, a retired auditor and former chairman of the Public Utilities Board, who said an audit before October is doable.

"If council wants the audit complete and made public before the election this fall, it can easily be done," Lane said.

An audit of a single project, like the police HQ project, would be less costly and quickly done, compared to the audit of the fire hall replacement program and the ongoing audit of city real estate transactions, he said.

This is the second time the CTF’s Craig has joined with a labour group to bring attention to the need for a police audit.

A week ago, Craig and Winnipeg Labour Council president David Sauer staged a news conference opposite the police HQ building, and then returned to city hall two days later to congratulate members of executive policy committee Brian Mayes and Jeff Browaty, who were initially opposed to the audit but who now claim they will support one.

Mayor Sam Katz said last week his EPC will likely bring a motion to council supporting an audit, but cautioned it wouldn’t be completed until after the Oct. 22 civic election.

"An audit can be delivered for a reasonable cost and within a short time frame if council and the administration make it a priority," Craig said.

Councillors Paula Havixbeck and Jenny Gerbasi said they will bring a motion to the Jan. 29 council meeting calling for an outside firm to conduct an audit and present its findings by June 1.

The Havixbeck-Gerbasi motion requires all members of administration involved in the project to be questioned as part of the audit process.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

History

Updated on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:05 PM CST: adds photo

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