Health unit, ERCA refuse to participate in audit

The Essex Region Conservation Authority and the Windsor Essex County Health Unit have decided not to participate in an audit of city-funded agencies, boards and committees.
The Essex Region Conservation Authority and the Windsor Essex County Health Unit have decided not to participate in an audit of city-funded agencies, boards and committees. (Google Street View)

The Essex Region Conservation Authority and the Windsor Essex County Health Unit have decided not to participate in an audit of city-funded agencies, boards and committees.

The decision irks Windsor city council.

Coun. Bill Marra said participating in the audit process dispels any concerns while not doing so raises "red flags."

"It's really to illustrate that they're running the organization as lean as possible that there aren't any other efficiencies to be gained and that truly that they can make a stronger argument to revisit the funding formula," Marra said.

The city provides more funding to the health unit than the county. Members from both councils sit on the board of directors.

Mayor Eddie Francis is concerned the health unit is using money in reserves to hire new staff members.

"I think it's reckless accounting for the health unit to be using one-time money to hire four full-time equivalents and then not have the money to pay them the following year. I think it's setting it up for a shortfall," Francis alleged.

Letters will be sent to the health unit and ERCA, asking them to reconsider their decisions  to not participate.

Representatives of the health unit are also being asked to appear before city council to answer questions.

Helga Reidel, the city's chief administrative officer, said council does not have the authority to force them to participate in the audit.

"We had all of this looked at by our legal department at the outset," Reidel said. "There were some organizations, some [agencies, boards and committees], that they could mandate the participation [of] and some that they could not, and the health unit would be one where they could not mandate it."

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