Many recommendations not being implemented by Montreal: auditor general
Montreal’s auditor general released his seventh and final report Tuesday, claiming many of his recommendations have been ignored.
Jacques Bergeron's 2015 report audited several areas of city spending and made 184 recommendations.
One of the major findings is that only 35 per cent of his office’s recommendations were implemented, well below target of 70 per cent.
As he tabled his report Tuesday, Bergeron and his team added that that there is still potential for favouritism when the city grants subsidies and that there are problems in overall governance because the city has 19 boroughs and their budgets fluctuate from year to year without much accountability and universality of rules.
He also pointed out there are no backup systems in place if certain information and communications systems malfunction.
The city said it is addressing that matter.
“We have an integrated team in place with police, firemen, IT services of the city and also the water department to make sure we have a resiliency plan that is integrated,” said Harout Chitilian, in charge of the Smart City initiative.
Bergeron added that there was some use of city credit cards to cover meals, hotels and airline tickets when those expenses were already covered by other city departments.
It was Bergeron's team that discovered conflict of interest at the city's real-estate arm involving civil servants.
Seven years later, his report stated there are still not enough mechanisms in place to ensure that city employees are not in conflict-of-interest situations when it comes to the city's real-estate transactions.
He also added that there is not enough control on the costs of construction and renovation projects, something he called scandalous.
“They didn't check the quality of the materials that they put on the road,” he said.
Bergeron said he couldn’t explain why the city hadn’t implemented many of his recommendations.
“I don’t have the response why they don't apply. We received an action plan, we received due dates but we don't have the clue why they don't apply, so you should ask the city manager of the city,” he said.
Pierre Desrochers, head of the City's Executive committee replied, stating that they put the percentage not at 35 per cent but at 85 per cent, because they count all of the recommendations that they have started to implement. He said they decide what the priorities are based on risk.
"We welcome this report and its recommendations in addition to our continuous improvement tools," said Desrochers, adding, “Obviously we have to prioritize because he makes hundreds of recommendations every year, so we're putting them by priority.”
Desrochers thanked Bergeron for his work and acknowledged that he had been auditor general through a very tumultuous time in the city's history.
“I think we all agree that there needs to be accountability and we need to improve that,” said Desrochers.
Bergeron’s term ends June 2.