External auditor set to make big changes at City Hall

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Will Louie's motion effectively peel back the layers of bureaucracy at City Hall?

Whether it's the fact he's been M.I.A. for the past few months, or the fact he's asking taxpayers to spend $1.5 million dollars on a firehall that nobody seems to want...or the fact he has yet to file his list of nomination donors with the City Clerk...there have been a lot of reasons to criticize Vancouver Councillor Raymond Louie over the last few months.

However, we at the CityCaucus.com headquarters cheered aloud when we saw his motion on an external auditor posted on the City's website yesterday. For his efforts, he gets two thumbs up.

Louie's motion, if properly implemented, will likely cause a seismic 8.0 on the Richter scale over at City Hall. That's because he is asking for a "core review" type process to be undertaken by an external auditor. One assumes the independent auditor will be coming back to Council (faced with severe budget pressures) and recommend some wholesale changes in operations at City Hall. The following is an excerpt of Louie's motion:

"The review would include an examination of City activities to identify those not mandated by legislation, no longer a priority, of questionable efficacy, or otherwise a candidate for reduction or elimination."

Wow...dems is fighting words. Armed with this motion, the auditor is likely to dig deep and come back with a number of recommendations regarding which city departments are redundant, and which programs have to go.

In my conversations with City staff, there are those that support the efforts, but there are many more who fear it. As one employee said to me "this type of review is something I would have expected of a right wing government, not from Vision."

Only time will tell if Louie is successful at convincing our Happy Planet Mayor that real changes need to be made to City Hall if they ever want to reign in spending. So far, Louie has lost every battle he has waged with the Mayor's Office.

PS We're not sure if Louie's motion will cover the operation of the Vancouver Police Department...we'll let you know, when we know.

Here is a copy of Louie's entire motion:

WHEREAS Council is committed to minimizing the property tax burden on residents and businesses by maximizing the efficiency of the City’s operations without compromising necessary public services;

AND WHEREAS the recent economic downturn has challenged the City’s finances and magnified the need to find lasting efficiencies and cost savings;

AND WHEREAS the City Manager is implementing temporary cost savings measures to balance the 2009 operating budget, which should ultimately be replaced with sustainable permanent efficiencies.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City Manager issue a request for proposal for external audit resources to assist with a comprehensive review of the businesses in all City departments and Boards, as well as Easy Park and the PNE. The review would include:

1. An examination of savings or shared service improvement opportunities in the City’s provision of internal services, including I&T, human resources, legal services, accounts payable, purchasing, time entry, payroll, security, building maintenance, yards, and other services.

2. An examination of City reserves and the five City funds to identify and report possible changes of process and structure to produce efficiencies, opportunities or cost reductions.

3. An examination of City activities to identify those not mandated by legislation, no longer a priority, of questionable efficacy, or otherwise a candidate for reduction or elimination.

4. Any other change in business practices that could produce efficiencies or cost reductions.


I never thought I would agree with Raging Raymond. But how can we be assured that the auditor is independent, and a not a friend of the ruling party ?

The best way to guarantee his/her independence would be to ensure they are appointed by Council, and the appointment must be a unanimous decision.

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