May 31, 2005 13:07 ET

City of Montreal: The Tremblay-Zampino Administration Plans to Follow up on the Auditor General's Recommendations

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - May 31, 2005) - The city administration plans to follow up on the recommendations issued by the auditor general in his 2004 report, it was announced at a press conference today.

"I assure you that our administration has no intention of avoiding its responsibilities. It plans to stay the course, set the mark very high to act on the auditor general's recommendations as soon as possible. We also intend to continue to manage city finances soundly and rigorously and provide all Montrealers with quality services," said the Chairman of the Executive Committee, Frank Zampino, who was accompanied at the press conference by city manager Robert Abdallah.

Follow-up on recommendations of 2003

To prove his point, Mr. Zampino noted that this administration followed up on 100% of recommendations issued in the 2003 report. More specifically, 27 out of the 46 recommendations, or nearly 60%, have already been implemented, while 19 others are underway. "This is the first time that all the recommendations of an auditor's report have been implemented so rapidly," he said. A fine example of this is the upgrade of the emergency measures plan at the drinking-water production plants.

The Chairman of the Executive Committee was very pleased to underscore that, in his 2004 report, the auditor general did, in fact, acknowledge that between 2002 and 2004, significant improvements were made to the preparation and auditing of the city's financial statements and that contracts for professional services are generally being awarded according to legislation and by-laws. "Again, this reflects sound management and openness," added Mr. Zampino.

Follow-up on recommendations of 2004

Montreal city manager, Robert Abdallah, listed actions to be taken by departments and their managers to remedy the irregularities and problems revealed in the auditor's report. He also reiterated that all the auditor general's recommendations are the object of an action plan with a specific deadline.

According to this plan, in March 2005, the city of Montreal awarded a contract to draw up the information services master plan, which is currently underway. "The auditor general raises the fact that the city is late in adopting such a plan. It is rather a necessary and cautious pause to better clarify our organizational methods. Now that this aspect has been clarified, we are moving forward. The plan is currently being developed and will be delivered over the next few months," said Mr. Abdallah.

Again in the field of technology, Robert Abdallah explained that the implementation of the finance element - supply of the integrated management system project (SIMON), which will result in substantial savings for the city had to be delayed to clarify the impact of legislation changes. Once this aspect was finalized, a consolidation plan was put in place and the project is being carried out within its budget forecasts.

In addition, the city rapidly authorized a committee to address the concerns raised by the auditor general regarding information security. Furthermore, this committee tabled a draft policy on security and two framework projects - on the use of the Internet and e-mail. These are currently being examined.

Regarding the management of overtime by firefighters, the Service de securite incendie de Montreal has prepared an action plan to take into account the auditor general's comments. "We must understand that the Montreal fire department has had to adapt since January 1, 2002, due to the merger of 22 fire departments on the island. Now, it must rebuild itself as an agglomeration department, which adds to the recent organizational changes," added Mr. Abdallah.

An objective and independent look

Finally, the Chairman of the Executive Committee emphasized the important role the auditor general plays within the city administration. "This objective and independent look on the management of city business is essential to a public body as large and as decentralized as the city of Montreal. The current auditor general favours an approach that emphasizes research and long-term solutions to problems. It is a constructive approach that favours partnership with elected officials and managers, thereby accelerating the processing and solving of problems. It also aims at improving continuously the management of public funds and the quality of municipal services. The major winners in this exercise are Montrealers," concluded Frank Zampino.

Contact Information

  • Source: Cabinet du maire et du comite executif
    Information: Richard Caron
    Bureau du president du comite executif
    (514) 872-9859