Auditor General debate to come back before Windsor council
Published Monday, February 4, 2019 10:09PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, February 5, 2019 9:16AM EST
Windsor City Hall in Windsor, Ont., on Monday, Oct. 16, 2018. (Rich Garton / CTV Windsor)
Just a few months into this session of council and already, elected officials in Windsor have dealt with some significant issues including opting-in for cannabis retail shops and putting fluoride back into the city’s drinking water.
And now another divisive debate will come back – whether to install an auditor general at city hall.
Just an hour after a quarterly audit was delivered to council by its current auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ward 10 Coun. Jim Morrison requested an administrative report on the various options for the establishment of an independent auditor general.
“Transparency and accountability was one of my most important platforms I put forward and the auditor general is a big part of that,” Morrison told reporters after the meeting. “I've seen where it wasn't followed through in the past, and I don't think that's right. With me, when I say something, you're going to get a commitment for it."
He's looking for information in a report that will provide value for money and financial audits to assist council in holding itself and administrators accountable for the quality of stewardship over public funds.
He says he’s open to listening to what administration has to say, which could include a number of different models.
“We can keep the status quo, we could go to a full blown auditor general office, or we can look at a hybrid situation where we could still use an outfit like PwC to do some of the investigative work under the direction of the auditor general,” said Morrison. “Give us the options, what the pros and cons are and we can have a good discussion around the table.”
The debate has taken place a couple of times in recent years with the previous council voting against the establishment of an auditor general. They instead inked a five-year deal with PwC – a contract that still has roughly two years remaining.
Mayor Drew Dilkens, who campaigned against hiring an independent auditor, says PricewaterhouseCoopers provide great value for money. Dilkens says he knew the debate would come back to council based on what he heard on the campaign trail.
"There is clearly a very strong misunderstanding of the powers of an auditor general and what they can and can't do and what their capabilities are,” he said after the council meeting. “Having a report come back to council will actually provide some clarity on that.”
“Hopefully we can remove the politics from the discussion as best we can as politicians and really get down to what's best for residents and how we can provide value for money for the residents."