I find that there are times in this job that make it difficult to keep perspective. For instance, it was frustrating to experience the numerous audits that have shown administrative dysfunction–i.e. The Metro Line, Groat Road Bridge, and Walterdale Bridge. However it seems we are not quite done, as a new audit has exposed such significant administrative carelessness it is simply hard to believe.
While investigating allegations of misconduct at the Edmonton Waste Management Center, the Office of the City Auditor found such gross mismanagement in the sectors of concrete crushing and waste hauling, that it could almost be considered outright theft.
In my opinion, the City Auditor has clearly exposed everything from price fixing of service contracts, the billing and payment for services never rendered, to the disappearance of materials on site that belong to you, the taxpayer. The following quote exemplifies this issue with procurement practices;
“The contract had no payment exclusions for times when the composting facility is not operating and no on-site hauling services are required (for instance, the two statutory holidays when the plant is closed, or when unexpected equipment problems shut the plant down, or when different components of the plant are serviced).This has resulted in the City paying for shifts when no driver was on site.”
As the following information and chart depict, the City seems to have been over billed by $177,023 (!) with the addition of services (without a formal contract change) and tender document amendments totally overlooked.
- Insufficient support for amounts claimed on invoices.
|● Trucking Contractor K did not provide adequate support for all the shifts they billed.
● Based on information available, we estimated a potential overcharge of approximately $114,855.40 between January 2014 and June 2015 (Table 3 — Item 2).
Table 3 — Summary of Additional Costs to the City (January 2014 to June 2015) 
|1. Inadequate work specifications||$ 62,168.95||No night shifts required, drivers sent home early, statutory holidays, etc.|
|2. Insufficient invoice support||$ 114,855.00||No support for invoiced charges|
|Total Additional Costs||$ 177,023.95|
Although the sums are not in the millions it is incredible that for all the propaganda this Administration presents in regard to how efficient and effective it’s service delivery is, one cannot help but read this audit and wonder what else could be going wrong below the deck with the City Administration. The public has already had a confidence crisis with this Council and Administration for getting things built on time and on budget; yet now we see the same oversights and carelessness on the operational side of the business. Of course there is a 15% tax increase from Administration looming. Cold comfort, indeed.
At the heart of all these issues is a Senior Administrator’s lack of oversight on contractors and departments. When contractors and departments are not properly monitoring value for the services received, service is the first thing to suffer. The only way to ensure value for our tax dollars is to benchmark everything we do, the metrics need to be established, and the targets and outcomes clearly defined as well as reported for all to see. Whether it is neighborhood renewal, snow removal, or waste management, we need to promote a transparent and accountable attitude of management. It is clear that because of the lack of performance metrics we have a great deal more work to do in dealing with the inefficiencies of waste as well as elsewhere within the corporation.
We are often told by Administration that things are great and we are getting good value for our tax dollars. I would put it back on the Administration. Just stating something does not make it necessarily true – prove it! Because it does matter. It matters to me and it matters to you.
 “Edmonton Waste Management Centre Contract Review.” 2015 Audit Reports 15394 EWMC Contract Review (2015): 9. Accessed November 5, 2015. http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/city_organization/2015-reports.aspx.
 “Edmonton Waste Management Centre Contract Review.” 2015 Audit Reports 15394 EWMC Contract Review (2015): 10. Accessed November 5, 2015. http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/city_organization/2015-reports.aspx.