Montreal

Montreal auditor general has 'serious concerns' about how city is run

Jacques Bergeron has been keeping an eye on the city's finances since 2009, during which time two mayors have resigned amid allegations of corruption and a slew of other municipal figures have faced criminal charges.

Jacques Bergeron ends eventful run as AG by questioning future of accountability

Jacques Bergeron, Montreal's auditor general, released his final report on Monday. (Radio-Canada)

Montreal's crusading auditor general has tabled his final annual report, and says he is stepping down with "serious concerns" about how the city is governed. 

Jacques Bergeron has been keeping an eye on the city's finances since 2009, during which time two mayors have resigned amid allegations of corruption and a slew of other municipal figures have faced criminal charges.

Some of his past reports proved to be sensational reading.

The 2009 edition detailed a scandal involving a $355 million water meter contract. His 2015 report raised suspicions about bid rigging in the awarding of snow removal contracts. 

Both prompted police investigations, and several charges have been laid in connection with the water meter scandal.

There are no headline grabbing discoveries of that magnitude in his final report, but Bergeron does describe an overly opaque municipal bureaucracy that makes oversight difficult. 

"Elected officials," he writes, "receive little information on results and the performance of the city's various activities."

And though he acknowledges that many of his recommendations have been followed over the years, the city's administration remains problematic.

"I leave the BVG [Bureau du vérificateur général] with serious concerns over the governance of the city," his report reads.

'Serious shortcomings'

Among the concerns he flags this year are the "serious shortcomings" in the way the city, and its boroughs, manages construction and renovation contracts.

Few of the boroughs take the necessary steps to verify whether subcontractors are actually authorized to perform the work they do. 

He also raises concerns about the failure of city's business units to sufficiently follow through on his office's recommendations.

Another concern of Bergeron's is the city's disaster preparedness. He believes the city is ill equipped to deal with a disaster that would affect its information and communication technologies.

Bergeron will give a news conference on Tuesday to further explain his findings. His mandate ends June 2. 

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