Calgary

City council fires auditor

Calgary city auditor Tracy McTaggart has been dismissed after an external review of her office found it failed to meet industry standards.

Calgary city auditor Tracy McTaggart has been dismissed after an external review of her office found it failed to meet industry standards.

McTaggart had a contract with the City of Calgary until the end of 2010 but that agreement was terminated on Monday.

Mayor Dave Bronconnier said an external review of the auditor's office came back with findings city council could not ignore.

"What came back very clearly from the Pricewaterhousecoopers report today was that there was glaring gaps, lack of skills, lack of all of the requirements necessary to complete the international standards and unfortunately that meant city council needed to take swift action and corrective action to deal with that," said Bronconnier.

The mayor said McTaggart's dismissal had nothing to do with her audit of the city's procurement practices, which found the city awarded some contracts for projects and suppliers without any competition, resulting in major cost overruns.

But the city manager subsequently discredited McTaggart's report as incomplete and containing key errors.

Guidelines met:

  • Having a defined purpose.
  • Being independent.

Partially fulfilled:

  • Planning audits.
  • Conducting field work.
  • Following up.
  • Risk escalation.

Deficient in:

  • Proficiency of audits.
  • Quality assurance.
  • Adding value.
  • Improving risk management.
  • Reporting recommendations.

Bronconnier said the decision to examine the auditor's office was made last year, long before McTaggart's critical report.

The quality assessment review, found "compliance deficiencies" after comparing the city auditor's office against 11 standards set by the Institute of Internal Auditors.

The report said the auditor's office fully met two of the standards, partially fulfilled four others, and was deficient in the remaining five.

The review suggested stating timelines for audits — which had been criticized as taking too long — in weeks and not in months or years.

The report also found a poor working relationship between the auditor's office and the audit committee and administration. It proposed ranking the priority of audits so that staff know which ones need to be completed first.

Ald. Andre Chabot — the lone council member who opposed McTaggart's dismissal — said the auditor was simply following orders from council so the problems are not her full responsibility.

The six months remaining on McTaggart's contract with the city, worth an estimated $70,000 to $100,000, will be paid out.

With files from the CBC's Scott Dippel

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