Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Missing audit status reports cause fuss, then turn up

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Though they were found later in the week, missing reports from the city auditor to councillors created a stir.

City auditor Brian Whiteside told members of executive policy committee this week an audit of the police headquarters and a cost study will be ready next week.

And Whiteside surprised politicians when he had no explanation for what happened to two status reports on the project he had already filed.

"I submitted two status reports... one in April and one in June," Whiteside said.

Council called for the external audit and cost study in the fall after the police-HQ project ballooned to $210 million from $135 million.

Contracts for the studies were awarded earlier this year: KPMG is doing the audit and Turner & Townsend is doing the cost evaluation.

Each firm was required to submit monthly reports, but none has appeared on any committee agenda.

The issue was raised Wednesday by David Sanders, a former provincial deputy minister who regularly attends council and committee meetings, who wondered why the monthly reports were not listed on council agendas.

Whiteside said that's because the contracts were awarded only recently to the consultants; there have been only two status reports but he filed them as required.

Whiteside said he had filed the two reports into the city's internal digital information system, adding it's not his responsibility to place them on a committee or council agenda.

EPC clerk Carlos Gameiro and city clerk Richard Kacher said they had not seen the reports.

When queried by other EPC members, Whiteside said copies of the reports were digitally copied to the offices of the mayor and the chief administrative officer.

But Katz said he wasn't aware of the reports. Acting CAO Deepak Joshi said he was also not aware of the documents.

Joshi said the CAO doesn't review reports from the city auditor, who is a statutory officer who reports directly to council.

"If this system is created by humans, how do things disappear in the system?" Coun. Russ Wyatt, a member of EPC, asked at the meeting.

Joshi said he would look for the reports if requested but no such motion was made at EPC.

However, Steve West, manager of corporate communications, said the reports were located Thursday and will be put before EPC next week.

Wyatt (Transcona) said later the city auditor's reports join the queue along with reports from other civic departments, adding they flow through the CAO's office to the clerk's office and then are distributed to councillors.

"Someone had the documents and did not pass them along," Wyatt said, adding sometimes there is a backlog of documents within the city's internal information system.

The city auditor is one of the statutory officers of the city, who, along with the CAO, reports directly to council.

Wyatt said the city auditor's reports should not travel the same path as other administrative reports, adding they should be forwarded directly to council or EPC.

"Reports from the city auditor, and other statutory officers, should not be subject to a political or administrative lens before (being) brought to council," Wyatt said, adding he hopes the procedures will be formally changed.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 11, 2014 B1

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