Ottawa

Ken Hughes not opposed to expanded fraud and waste mandate

The city's auditor general says he's not against expanding the scope of his report into municipal fraud and waste to cover more than just city employees.

Auditor-general's annual hotline report doesn't cover elected officials, police, library staff

Ottawa Auditor General Ken Hughes says he's not opposed to expanding the scope of his report into the city's fraud and waste hotline. (CBC)

The city's auditor-general says he wouldn't be opposed to expanding the scope of the municipal fraud and waste hotline -- even to the point that it could could include elected officials.

On Monday, Ken Hughes released his 2013-14 report into complaints made to the city's confidential fraud and waste hotline.

More than 300 tips were sent in to the hotline, and 16 city employees were fired for everything from stealing city equipment to filing fraudulent health claims.

While the report's scope covers city employees, it doesn't typically investigate complaints made about elected officials, police, library staff, or the city's community housing agency, said Hughes.

'Not a bad idea'

Those entities have separate boards and fall under a different set of rules -- although the auditor-general's office has investigated those sorts of complaints in the past, Hughes added.

"Extending (the hotline investigation) to other parts, other entities within the city, is not a bad idea," Hughes said.

Kanata North councillor Marianne Wilkinson expressed a similar view after Monday's report was issued.

"I think it's something, over time, that we need to look at even further," Wilkinson said.

The fraud and waste hotline was launched in 2005 as an internal tool for city employees to report on questionable behaviour by their colleagues. It was opened up to the public in 2009.

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