Contractors openly joke they can take on a city project at cost and still make a hefty profit with “change orders” and other upgrades made by the city after contracts have been awarded. Why can’t the specifications be examined and firmed up before going out to tender? Who is held accountable for all the changes made after contracts are awarded? The answer is… nobody.
In our search for answers in to what is happening with our money at City Hall it doesn’t seem to matter what questions we ask when it comes to who is responsible and who will be accountable for the mess our current Municipal Government is in. The answer remains the same ‘Not Me!’ Unless major changes are made to how we operate and go about our business Winnipeg will continue to see project cost overruns, questionable if any tendering processes, limited access to information to a fair and equitable process allowing all developers the same opportunities to access city projects.
“You definitely need a cultural change at city hall,” said Colin Craig, Prairie director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
THE Ernst & Young audit of the city’s fire-paramedic station construction project lays blame on just about every aspect of the project from beginning to end. Many Winnipeggers feel the Ernst & Young Audit should just be the start. The Audit raises more questions in regards to the involvement or lack of involvement of the Mayor, the EPC and all councillors. When asked about the report City Administrators evaluation is “It’s important to know that right through the whole process, the administration, through due process and best intentions and also following policies and procedures we interpret on an ongoing basis, were following best practices of the city,” Ruta said, adding it will take time to implement all of the recommendations from the audit. (Bureaucrats slammed for Fire Hall Fiasco, 01/23/2014). In simple terms: Not Me!!
We all are aware it is all to common to have to many decisions being made behind closed doors. Behind closed door decisions may happen with private companies or major corporations but this is our money and our lives that are being affected by decisions of City Hall. Governments must be held to a higher standard!!
Councillor livid firm gets $10M despite errors, Winnipeg free Press, By: Bartley Kives, 09/10/2009
There seems to be a culture with city run projects where it gets awarded before councillors, the press and the people of Winnipeg are even aware what is happening. In a recent study by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy Winnipeg ranked low in transparency. Mayor Katz however is on record as stating…“there is no level of government more open, honest and transparent than this government right here…. (Mandating transparency … or killing P3s?, June 12, 2012). It is clear Mayor Katz’s definition of transparency and accountability is different the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and many if not most people of Winnipeg.
Despite the Audit and the upcoming Police Headquarters Audit it doesn’t appear we will get anymore answers other than ‘Not Me!!’ Clearly in the upcoming election we have the right to elect a new Mayor and a new batch of city councillors but will that bring about the changes required. The entire system needs to be changed from how tenders are done, how consulting firms are selected and the day-to-day operations of the city. Our councillors need to be held more accountable for what is happening in each of the departments. Council Meetings need to be less political and more about the betterment of our city. Our city needs a leader who holds people accountable and expects and acts with integrity.
We need our questions answered.
We need the police to investigate the questions we are left with as a result of the Fire Hall Audit and the upcoming Police Headquarters Audit.