City council and staff continue to tackle ways to implement recommendations that came out of the city’s 2011 audit.
During a special committee of the whole meeting Aug. 7, council discussed a letter from auditor PMT Chartered Accountants. In the letter Kane Fraser outlined seven different areas of concern and recommendations that have been generated after meetings held with the company, staff and council.
When it comes to approving the chief administrator’s expenses, it was determined that the mayor or alternate mayor should be the ones to approve them, after they’ve been reviewed by the director of finance.
It was suggested that the city as an entity should discontinue soliciting gifts or donations for its Christmas party, and that the city’s current policy on receiving gifts be reviewed.
In response to the auditor’s recommendation that the city develop a whistle-blower policy to handle staff complaints, management noted the community charter provides procedures for handling complaints regarding financial affairs.
“A whistle-blower policy would provide further means to report other serious misconduct,” Fraser noted in the letter.
The fourth recommendation covered documenting expressions of interest for the city’s approved contractor list.
Individual councillors and staff have voiced concern that a contractor has to have an inside contact to be awarded the opportunity to work as an approved contractor.
At the meeting council didn’t discuss the point further but agreed that staff should review the policy and make recommendations to update the policy.
Another recommendation centred on the ongoing orientation and training of the mayor and council to become familiar with existing city policy and bylaws.
Coun. Danica Hughes suggested training should take place within three months of the election date, while Coun. Geoff Bourdon added he would like to see the training used as a tool to teach the public as well.
Another issue was mail routing for council, which Mayor Kerry Cook said arose after she received complaints from the public about some mail not being answered in a timely manner or received by mayor and council.
Council agreed to bring any mail-handling concerns to the Aug. 28 committee of the whole meeting.
During the follow up to the audit, PMT noted the current mayor and council would like to be more involved or at least understand the audit process and their role in it.
“We recommend that PMT Chartered Accountants holds an information session for elected officials and staff involved in the audit process to review the role of the auditor, the elected officials, and the senior management,” Fraser noted.
Further approval of the recommendations will have to take place at a regular meeting of council.