Time for everyone to step up

The Overtime Audit finally landed at Council’s Audit Committee yesterday.

The intensity of the comments, since it entered the public realm, is reflective of the transformation our new internal audit practice is leading – in my opinion not just for our local government but others.

Our Internal Auditor confirmed she received the full co-operation of all managers in completing her audit – despite how uncomfortable some of the findings were.  That in itself is a positive shift in culture.

More careful evaluation of the report reveals there are areas with “rigorous” management practices – an Internal Auditor never chooses their words lightly.

It was also good to learn that change has already begun within the organization.  The Executive Team placed a moratorium on overtime for the remainder of this year.

Next year, zero-based budgeting for overtime will be implemented.  This does not mean no overtime – that is a common misunderstanding.  What it means is all overtime accounts have been centralized and any requests for overtime must be justified with a business case and approved by the Executive Team.  We rely on overtime in certain circumstances to ensure the safety and security of our residents and to meet regulatory standards.

The CAO has agreed to all the recommendations by the Internal Auditor and established the team to implement them.  Council will receive a full action plan in 90 days.  That was the “unqualified commitment to “reset” culture at City Hall” that I was looking for.

I have little patience for the finger-pointing we have witnessed over the last week. 

When it comes to accountability, to taxpayers and the community, everyone – Council, management and union members – have a moral obligation to step up and be part of the solution.

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About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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2 Comments on “Time for everyone to step up”

  1. Lloyd Longfield Says:

    The Guelph Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Committee reviewed the Audit yesterday, and sees the audit highlights opportunities, which is what one hopes a successful audit will accomplish. Having an auditor in place with a work plan to look for continuous improvement opportunities is a good thing for the City. There are some very good opportunities for cost savings and operations improvements for management and operations to review and the response from the CAO’s office indicates this is in process.

  2. Kira Says:

    I agree that everyone involved will need to be relied on to do their part in working towards solutions. Does this mean that employees (union or otherwise) will be empowered to be a bigger part of the decision making processes regarding overtime use by department? What will that look like? Or will managers simply be given targets/quotas and told to enforce them?
    I would be careful with your implication that folks are simply “finger pointing”. Most of the discussion I have witnessed, while heated, has been necessary to determine who is responsible, and therefore accountable for participating in implementing solutions.

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