(WINDSOR, ON) – Bill Marra is back on board. Shortly after Todd Langlois was unceremoniously, and in contravention of City policy, fired from the corporation, Marra motioned to start the process to find a replacement. He was shot down by Council.
During the municipal election, last year, Marra, along with now-sitting councilors Chris Holt, Paul Borrelli, and Rino Bortolin, campaigned on the platform to reinstate the AG position in Windsor. Now approaching the first anniversary of the election, only Marra has come forward to broach the subject while the others have refused to comment.
An Auditor General has greater authority under provincial legislation than the current set-up using the contracted Price Waterhouse Coopers.
An AG has the power to subpoena witnesses while PwC does not. An AG has greater independence and can act at arm’s length while any contracted auditing firm can only dig as far as Council allows. And, an AG can perform value for money audits of all city departments and holdings, and at a cost far less than PwC.
The former AG in Windsor submitted an audit plan that included looking into EnWin, the Windsor Airport, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, and a host of other operations at the city. For that he was terminated. (Watch this space for more on EnWin shortly)
And, to keep the real reason from becoming public, the city settled out of court with the obligatory non-disclosure clause.
It is that very transparency that is lacking with the contracted audit function and which would be present with an independent Auditor General.
For some reason, Drew Dilkens thinks Windsor has an Auditor General. He said so during the election.
Dilkens said the city had an independent auditor general, during an early debate. He repeated himself at the next debate when he said, “Make no mistake, we have an Auditor General.” He followed that up with, “The function of Auditor General does exist.”
He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Catching Dilkens’ lack of understanding, mayoral candidate Larry Horwitz released a statement shaming the now interim mayor.
Mayoral hopeful Drew Dilkens falsely claims that Windsor has an Auditor General. This is factually incorrect. Dilkens is well aware of this as he voted to remove the City’s
That Drew Dilkens can be so misinformed and evasive speaks directly to his lack of credibility on the important issue of transparency and accountability that is a key issue to Windsorites.
Ironically, Dilkens displays a lack of transparency on the very issue of transparency and accountability.
Dilkens’ comments reached beyond Windsor’s borders when Ontario’s then Ombudsman, Andre Marin, accused him of spinning the truth. Even the Windsor Star called Dilkens out; and that is saying a lot.
But how about the candidates who campaigned on the platform to reinstate the AG? Why has it been almost a year since the election and they have yet to make a motion? It’s not like they have been silent since becoming ensconced around the council table. Sometimes painfully, they have made their voices heard on a myriad of matters, like tilting at Canada Post and the super boxes scheme.
But when it comes to an issue as important to Windsorites as the AG, these councilors, who promised to raise the issue, have not only remained silent, they disappear whenever the subject is raised.
Each councilor is hosting a Ward meeting to discuss the proposed laughable 20-year plan; a laundry list of maybes without any actual plan. Dilkens would rather redirect the talk toward the 20-year plan to do nothing than taking concrete action like hiring an Auditor General.
“I don’t think we will get any value by spending $200 000 to add an auditor general to our staff,” Dilkens told the local media. “For the last few years, we have engaged Price Waterhouse Coopers and they do a series of audits, they are currently auditing EnWin and mapped out the plan for the next several years.”
Dilkens is still spinning the truth. I refer you back to Horwitz’s comment: Dilkens has a, “… lack of credibility on the important issue of transparency and accountability …”
Plan to attend the Ward meeting in your area. Tell you councilor that you want them to do what’s right for the city and not just what is convenient for them.
Windsor needs an Auditor General.
Ian Shalapata can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.