Halifax lagging on auditor general recommendations

HRM procurement system at risk of fraud, auditor general finds

Halifax has followed up on less than half of the recommendations made by the municipal auditor general between March 2014 and January 2016.

During that time period, nine reports were done on a number of serious issues, including permits and inspections for building standards, cost overruns for the Washmill Lake underpass, an equipment fuel program and a fuel spill at the transit garage in Dartmouth.

According to the current auditor general, Evangeline Colman-Sadd, 54 per cent of significant issues — 14 of 26 — are still outstanding. They include:

- No procedure manual for building permits and inspections.

- No project-management office for high-value, one-time capital projects.

- No policy for the use of fuel fobs at HRM fuelling locations.

"We are putting in a new process for follow-up and will be going back in 18 months," said Colman-Sadd. "It takes a concerted effort on everyone's part."

The assessment was presented to the audit and finance committee on Wednesday.

Coun. Steve Adams, a committee member, said he was taken aback by the lack of progress.

"Disappointed is mild, shocked is a better description," said Adams. "Residents want to make sure they're getting good value for their dollars."

Adams has asked chief administrative officer Jacques Dubé for a detailed explanation. He said he wants to know if there have been a lack of resources or a lack of direction.