City auditor calls for tougher oversight

Relaxed oversight from upper management led to wasted money in 2010, according to 13 reports released by Ottawa's auditor general Thursday.

Relaxed oversight from upper management led to wasted money in 2010, according to 13 reports released by Ottawa's auditor general Thursday.

Alain Lalonde criticized city staff for not having tighter control over such things as Canada Day events at Andrew Haydon Park, unauthorized helicopter rides and a diesel spill in 2009.

The City of Ottawa media team was ready to release a string of news releases defending its practices and claiming improvements over past years.

City councillors also questioned the auditor general after he revealed his public reports.

Among the concerns, Lalonde pointed out the city could have saved about $106,000 if it kept better track of how its fleet of vehicles were used.

Compressed work weeks, another issue for the auditor general, was found to be a problem at the social services centre in south Ottawa where 25 per cent of staff had that setup but were not compliant.

Lalonde also promised to audit corporate credit cards in 2012, a decade since a scandal over their use by city staff.

Other reports looked at:

  • the city's arrangement with OCRI, the Ottawa Centre on Research and Innovation
  • the city's dealings with the Nepean Sailing Club and the Vanier Sugarbush
  • audits of email usage policies
  • staffing at the children's services branch
  • audits of grants the city has handed out

Two reports are to be tabled during in-camera sessions. One, an audit into flooding in Ottawa's Glencairn neighbourhood and the development in the Carp River Watershed, will be behind closed doors because of a pending lawsuit by residents whose homes have repeatedly flooded.

The other report is an audit of the MacKenzie King Bridge Rehabilitation.