Mayor fights latest allegations to hit city hall
Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay speaks to reporters at city hall on Thursday, May 20, 2010.
Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay is fighting back over the latest allegations to hit city hall.
Earlier this week, auditor general Jacques Bergeron released a report raising questions about the city's dealings and contracts with telecommunications giant Telus and security firm BCIA.
Bergeron's report, which was tabled at Monday night's city council meeting, indicated that contracts with Telus worth $100 million are over-budget and behind schedule, and there are also several irregularities in how the contracts were handed out.
The Surete du Quebec has been called in to investigate.
Bergeron also questioned why Louis Roquet, director general of the city of Montreal, leaked portions of the confidential report to Telus before its official release.
In addition, Bergeron scrutinized the city's procedure in granting a contract to BCIA, which was tapped to provide security services for the municipal courthouse, Montreal police headquarters, and another police building.
The report found that the contract had been awarded without going to tenders.
After returning from a trip to China, Tremblay addressed the media at a press conference Thursday morning.
"I was elected to clean up city hall. This is my third mandate, and that's exactly what I'm doing," Tremblay said.
Administration making changes, Tremblay says
Tremblay said in the past few months, his administration has put in anti-collusion and anti-corruption clauses, split contracts to open them to more bidders, and is now getting less expensive contracts.
He also pointed out that he was the one to call police in to investigate the Telus contract, and said he was not surprised by the content of the auditor general's report.
"What you are hearing today is nothing new, it is everything that I have known, except that was not made public (…) Because if you make (the information) public, then it is difficult for the police to make sure that they can find who is responsible for what," Tremblay said.
He added that he had no reason to question Roquet's decision to pass confidential information to Telus before it went to council.
"He took a good faith decision, and as a result of that he has my full confidence," said Tremblay.
Opposition leader Louise Harel slammed Tremblay for defending Roquet.
"I can't understand that the mayor absolves his director general," Harel said.
Tremblay said he deplored the fact there was no written contract with BCIA, but remains convinced there was no link between the deal and the impending retirement of police chief Yvan Delorme.
Earlier this month, Delorme announced he would be stepping down in October, after five years leading the force.
Delorme will go before the public security commission in a closed door session next week.
Public security chairman Claude Trudel said the meeting will shed light on the circumstances surrounding awarding of the BCIA contract.
"I want to know what happened. I'm pretty convinced that it is simply a question of a mistake in the administration," Trudel said.