OC Transpo boss apologizes for confusion over LRT payment
City paid Rideau Transit Maintenance $4.5M for September 2019
OC Transpo boss John Manconi apologized Wednesday for failing to inform councillors about a payment made to LRT contractors for September.
"Make no mistake about it — there's no deceit, no lies," Manconi told councillors at Wednesday's city council meeting. "That's not who I am, that's not who my team is. We're all human and we make mistakes.... I apologize."
Late last week, CBC reported that the city had been "contractually obligated" to pay Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) for the month of September despite ongoing issues with the new light rail system. Many councillors and members of the public were under the impression that the city hadn't paid RTM a cent since taking over the Confederation Line on Aug. 31.
- City paid LRT contractor $4.5M despite claims to the contrary
- News of city's $4.5M payment to RTM 'shocking,' councillors say
As recently as January, an OC Transpo official said he didn't believe the city had made any monthly payments to RTM.
On Saturday evening, the city sent an email to CBC to say that Manconi had told reporters during a scrum on Dec. 3 that the city had made a payment to RTM in September.
"So the concession just started. They're not going to get October. They're not going to get November. And now we're into December," Manconi said at the time. "They had a payment for, I believe, for the tail end of September, which [is] the way the payment mechanism works, and then you adjust from that point on."
That comment was not widely reported by local media, nor by CBC.
'I sincerely apologize'
He made no mention of September payments at that time. One month earlier, on Nov. 6, he said RTM was not getting paid for September, but it turns out the city cut the contractor a cheque in the latter half of November for $4.5 million.
On Wednesday, Manconi apologized for the confusion.
"In my 31 years [working at the city], I've always been very proud of the fact that I provided councils that I worked for with timely and accurate information," he said.
"And as you know, you've heard my quotes earlier this week, I clearly remember talking to reporters during a scrum about the mandatory September payment. We thought we had fully informed council. But obviously we did not.
"And for that I sincerely apologize."
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