More than half of issues raised by Halifax’s auditor general between 2014-16 not addressed

Click to play video: 'Halifax Regional Municipality needs to address recommendations, auditor general says' Halifax Regional Municipality needs to address recommendations, auditor general says
WATCH: Halifax's auditor general says the city needs to do a better job when it comes to addressing the recommendations she has made, as more than half have not been managed in the past four years. Steve Silva explains – Apr 18, 2018

A new report has found 54 per cent of “known issues” noted in nine auditor general reports for Halifax’s municipal government between March 2014 and January 2016 have yet to be addressed.

Auditor general Evangeline Colman-Sadd presented ‘Follow-up Review: Reports Released from March 2014 – January 2016’ during a morning meeting of the Audit and Finance Standing Committee on Wednesday.

“In last month’s report, we picked 70 per cent as where we would like to see things, so clearly it isn’t where we’d like to see things,” she said to reporters after her presentation.

The new report, which is on the government’s website (PDF) highlighted these outstanding issues:

  • No procedure manual for building permits and inspections.
  • Lack of project management office for high-value, one-time capital projects.
  • No policy for the use of fuel fobs at HRM fueling locations.
  • Lack of monitoring of fuel cards and fobs by supervisors to confirm fuel purchases are reasonable.

“Something needs to be remedied here, and I think the message was very clear this morning that this is not acceptable, and it will be fixed,” District 11 Coun. Steve Adams said to reporters.

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Timelines to implement changes are necessary, the committee member said.

“There has been progress made,” Colman-Sadd said, referencing employee training matters and a necessary construction standards report for the Washmill Lake Court Extension Project, among the 46 per cent of “significant issues” that were addressed.

Whether the municipal government is improving or getting worse at addressing auditor general report recommendations is “pretty much impossible to” determine because of a lack of a follow-up process, Colman-Sadd said.

READ MORE: Reports from Halifax auditor general take critical look at water safety and surplus land

“Going forward, we have established a new follow-up process. We will revisit all recommendations in each report 18 months after the audit results are released to determine whether management has corrected the issues we identified. We will publicly report follow-up results,” the report states.

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Councillors passed a motion asking the municipal government’s CAO Jacques Dubé to provide a detailed progress report on the issues at the committee’s next meeting.

Reports from between 2009 and 2013 won’t be revisited because of their age, according to the report.

“I was very encouraged by the committee’s reaction today in terms of that it’s unacceptable for things to not be address over the long term, so I think that bodes very well for the future,” Colman-Sadd said.

An audit report on procurement is expected to come out in May.

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