Blowing Hard Dough

Rating: NNNNNIf it weren't for the way Mayor Mel's team threw big money at consultants, taxes.


Rating: NNNNN


If it weren’t for the way Mayor Mel’s team threw big money at consultants, taxes wouldn’t have gone up and we wouldn’t be in this financial mess.

CONSULTANT CHA-CHING

Total that city staff says it paid consultants:

  • 1998 ­– $29 million
  • 1999 ­– $159 million
  • 2000 ­– $69 million
  • what the amalgamated city spent on Y2K consultants in the last three years: $160 million

    amount taxes go up for every $10 million council has to raise to meet a budget shortfall: 1 per cent

    what the city auditor said about the total 1998 and 99 consulting expenditures staff reported to council: They are misstated.

    WHO’S ON THE GRAVY TRAIN?

    Ball Hsu and Associates
    value of 2000 contract: $2.1 million
    what city paid: $10 million

    Network Architecture
    Value of 2000 contract: $260,000
    What city paid: $869,442

    Beacon Software
    Value of 2000 contract: $180,000
    What city paid: $535,807

    Remarkable Software
    Value of 2000 contract: $100,000
    What city paid: $439,757

    value of one consulting contract awarded to two former city employees for 2001 alone: $344,000

    pay while each was city staff (including benefits): $80,000-$100,000 annually

    Contract limit for IT desktop support consultant for the first six months of 2001: $1 million

    amount each “support” person was paid: $50 per hour

    amount city staffer is paid for same job: $32 per hour

    City auditor’s thoughts on hiring staff as opposed to consultants: “In many cases, significant cost savings could be realized through in-sourcing, particularly in situations where there may be an ongoing requirement for certain skills or expertise.”

    THE COST OF MISMANAGEMENT

    Number of city staff laid off since amalgamation: approximately 2,000

    total budget shortfall in 2000: $50 million (after cuts and provincial bailout brought it down from over $300 million)

    Total tax increase in 2000: 5 per cent

    projected shortfall for 2001: approximately $200 million

    WHO GIVES OUT THE GOODIES?

    Chief Administrative Officer can authorize payments up to $500,000. Conditions: None

    Commissioners can authorize payments up to $250,000 where approved procurement procedures have been followed and up to $50,000 where normal purchasing procedures are not possible.

    General Managers, Executive Directors, Fire Chief, City Clerk, Medical Officer of Health, City Solicitor and City Auditor can authorize payments up to $250,000 where approved procurement procedures have been followed and up to $25,000 where normal purchasing procedures are not possible.

    CLOSING THE WALLET

    What city council has recommended: All consulting contracts above $50,000 be approved by council.

    What the city’s new CAO, Shirley Hoy, is doing to halt the consultant gravy train: Staff will now have to make a case for hiring a consultant.

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