City response to fire hall audit ‘arrogant,’ councillor says
Coun. Paula Havixbeck lays into Winnipeg EPC over handling of recommendations in audit
A Winnipeg city councillor is blasting the city’s top committee for the way it handled recommendations in a damning fire hall audit released late last year.
The audit outlined several problems with the way the city handled a land swap with developer Shindico and directly implicated former city CAO Phil Sheegl in the bungling of the project.
Coun. Paula Havixbeck appeared before the Executive Policy Committee on Wednesday, saying she wasn’t happy with a report on how the city would implement the recommendations.
Havixbeck said the language in the report was "bordering on arrogant," and there should have been a seminar for councillors on the report before it was released.
She also said Mayor Sam Katz should have held a press conference on the report, she said, pointing to a lack of transparency in the process.
The report says the city administration is in the midst of adopting all the recommendations from the audit done by Ernst and Young.
Those include reducing the size of contracts the city CAO can approve without political oversight and changing the rules surrounding the city's tendering process.
“We need to get past who is to blame here. My bold idea for city hall is to clean things up,” said Havixbeck.
But Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said just the opposite. He told EPC no one in the city’s administration had been held responsible for the mishandling of the fire hall land swap deal.
“Is anyone accountable? Anyone?” he asked the committee.
Craig said he wanted to see penalties for city staff who lead projects that go dramatically over budget.
“I think the city’s administration should roll up their sleeves and say, ‘Yes. We are going to make sure that all the I’s are dotted and all the T’s are crossed,’” said Craig.
Katz dismissed that idea.