Transport Ministry has problems with red tape, confusing contracts
Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017 11:37AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 22, 2017 6:52PM EDT
In her report tabled Wednesday morning, Quebec’s Auditor General said the way the Transport Ministry is awarding contracts is still problematic despite all the corrections and adjustments it has made so far.
Auditor Guylaine Leclerc reported poor risk management, a lack of coordination and consistency of actions, poorly defined stakeholder roles, lack of planning, inadequate expertise, follow-up and inadequate control and mismanagement in senior roles.
In short, the Ministry is dysfunctional.
"There is a lack of understanding of the reason why all of those controls, procedures, and policies are in place," said Leclerc.
Former Transportation Minister Robert Poeti tried to reform the department without success before he was replaced.
"I was worried about different things, and when I read that report, I could say I was right," said Poeti.
The Transport Ministry is the largest contractor in Quebec. It has also been subject to frequent changes of the minister in charge.
The current minister is Laurent Lessard, who replaced Jacques Daoust last August.
Daoust had only held the post for seven months after he replaced Poeti -- who had also held the post for less than one year.
Opposition critic Alain Therrien said some policies make no sense.
"It takes nine approvals from nine different people just to add something to a contract," said the PQ critic for Transportation.
The report comes after whistleblower Annie Trudel testified in front of a parliamentary committee about uncovering irregularities at the ministry.
Trudel, an independent analyst hired by Poeti, resigned because she said her investigative work was being sabotaged and she was being blocked at every turn.
Trudel’s testimony also forced the launch of an independent investigation that is examining the ministry and questionable practices, including contracts being awarded to former employees, and contracts being awarded without a public bidding process.
A second report examining the awarding of contracts will be issued later this year.
With files from The Canadian Press