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Police civilians paid more

A new report says civilian staff who work for the Winnipeg Police Service are paid 24 per cent more than City of Winnipeg staff who perform similar duties.

The city released a report Friday that said there is "a significant gap" between the salaries of civilian staff who work for police service and City of Winnipeg staff in comparable positions. The report identified 173 police civilian positions that were comparable to city staff jobs, and found police civilians were paid $1.8 million more than city staff in 2011. The report said the city should continue to propose different rate increases for the staff component and the police component of the Winnipeg Police Association in future collective-bargaining negotiations.

The report also said the police service should have a plan to determine whether a position should be performed by a sworn officer or a civilian in light of increasing costs. The police service employes 423 full-time civilian workers and 1,443 officers, and their salary and benefits accounted for nearly 85 per cent of the service's total operating expenditures in 2011.

The audit identified 27 positions where the city could save $890,000 a year if civilian staff were employed rather than sworn officers.

Expand fraud line: audit

City auditors want Winnipeg to expand its fraud hotline after it investigated six complaints last year.

Last April, Winnipeg launched a fraud hotline for employees to report wrongdoing in city departments. The move came after an audit found many cases of waste and fraud go unreported because the city requires staff to report allegations to a supervisor.

A report released Friday reveals auditors investigated three complaints of theft, embezzlement and fraud, and three complaints of violation of laws, regulations, policies and procedures, which were reported to the hotline in 2012. Of the six closed complaints, the report said one allegation was substantiated and auditors recommended management enhance cash-handling controls and surveillance of cash-handling areas.

Pool safety flagged

An external audit flagged 11 safety concerns Winnipeg's indoor pools need to address.

On Friday, the city released the findings of the Lifesaving Society's review of Winnipeg's aquatic services. The audit found several indoor pools were non-compliant with regulations or Lifesaving Society of Ontario safe practices.

The audit includes 11 recommendations, including city pools must test and inspect emergency equipment on a regular basis, have adequate lighting to monitor all areas of the pool, install a black disc on the bottom of the pool to determine water clarity and restrict access from the viewing gallery to the pool deck.

The city said immediate action was taken to address nine of the 11 priorities. Two remaining requirements -- adequate lighting and door locks on change-room doors -- are under review to ensure they comply with provincial regulations.

Parking ban ends tonight

THE city is keeping the residential parking ban in effect until this evening so crews can finish clearing sidewalks, back lanes and streets.

Plowing is set to go ahead on residential streets, P3's, in snow zone E starting at 7 a.m. That's expected to be done by 7 p.m. Zone E encompasses the northwest part of the city.

Streets in a snow zone that were missed or only partially cleared will be plowed in the coming days. In the meantime, people can park on their street since the ban only applied during a 12-hour period that was previously scheduled. When crews return, there won't be additional parking restrictions, but residents are asked to move their vehicles should they see their street is about to be cleaned.

For more information on plowing and zones, click on http://www.winnipeg.ca/publicworks/Parkingbans/clearingSchedule.asp.

Forgery-probe report due

A city committee will get an update on an investigation into forged blueprints.

On Tuesday, Hollywood Homes Inc. is scheduled to appeal a city order to stop construction and obtain a new building permit for three Winnipeg homes.

The city revoked three of Hollywood Homes Inc.'s building permits for homes on Pritchard and Bowman avenues and Chevrier Boulevard after officials discovered submitted drawings had been "deliberately altered" to indicate an engineer approved them.

Two of the homes are occupied.

Hollywood Homes owner Dave Haner claims he purchased the doctored engineering blueprints from a city building inspector. The allegations sparked an internal city investigation.

A city spokeswoman said Winnipeg's public administration has been asked to report back to council's property committee on Tuesday.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 9, 2013 B4

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