September 12, 2005

Release of the Final Reports of the Toronto Computer Leasing Inquiry and the Toronto External Contracts Inquiry

I would like to begin my comments today by also thanking Commissioner Bellamy and the staff of the Inquiry for the work they have completed.

When I gave testimony during the Good Governance phase of the Inquiry, I spoke about the role of Council and of the Toronto Public Service and said:

Staff sees Council as the body that sets the vision and the direction for the City. It has to choose and make decisions between competing priorities. Council establishes, by bylaw, City policies and programs. Council determines service levels in all the programs and services that the City’s responsible for and, finally, it monitors the staff implementation of these Council decisions.

For the staff, we have to provide objective, professional advice to Council, when it is looking at setting directions or choosing between competing priorities. At the end of the day, once Council makes its decision, it is the responsibility of the Toronto Public Service, to implement Council’s decisions according to City policy and the highest standards and principles of effective public service.

The inquiry provided an opportunity to review how both of these important roles function and specifically examined the oversight that is in place to ensure ethical and effective delivery of City services.

Justice Bellamy acknowledged the work that the City has done to implement necessary changes, make improvements and see real results over the past few years. This acknowledgement is important as we continue the important work still to be done. I was also very pleased that the report recommendations acknowledge the many new control and oversight functions that have been implemented since the Inquiry began.

The focus of the Toronto Public Service will now be on the review, evaluation and implementation of the recommendations contained in Justice’s Bellamy’s final report.

The process of making change has continued over the past three years and I want to provide a brief outline of some of the major changes as they relate to the recommendations contained in the report released today.

For example, the importance of ethics and values to our daily work continues to be critical.

The City has a Conflict of Interest Policy for staff and a Code of Conduct for Councillors. To support these documents, the City administration has developed what will be a new Charter of Expectations for staff. Consultations on the Charter continue with our employee groups. The Charter has kept the discussion on ethical standards and values on-going and has proven an important undertaking to ensure all of us understand our roles and obligations.

The content of the Charter will be more than just words on paper. It will instead articulate the highest possible standards for service. I recognize the importance of continuing to discuss and train staff on ethical and professional standards.

One of the changes brought in while the Inquiry was underway was an annual written acknowledgement by all senior staff of the City’s conflict of interest guidelines. While the matters that brought the Inquiry forward involved a very small number of staff, it remains important for all staff to be aware of, and understand, the unique ethical standard under which all public servants must earn and keep the public trust.

With respect to gifts and entertainment, the City has implemented a policy where staff is prohibited from accepting all but the most nominal of token gifts from anyone doing business with the City.

The same is true for charitable events and city email. The recommendations call for – and the City has implemented – a charity event policy that outlines how city staff may participate in charity events and activities. The City has also introduced a city-wide acceptable use policy that outlines what is expected of staff when using City assets such as computers and other equipment and the City also has an email policy for appropriate use of email.

Since the Inquiry began in September 2002, the City introduced an independent Auditor General and an internal audit function. These two new functions have done a great deal to support the implementation of City policy and procedures, increase accountability and improve the manner in which city business is conducted.

Over 100 of Justice Bellamy’s recommendations concern procurement processes at the City. The recommendations of Justice Bellamy fit well with the work that has been undertaken by City staff to respond to the recommendations of the City’s Auditor General that were made previously.

Procurement processes have been reviewed and changes implemented to ensure that all vendors have the best possible access to City business and that the City gets the best possible value for money.

In March, 2005 staff submitted a report to the Policy and Finance Committee which served to clarify the roles and responsibilities of staff and elected officials in the procurement process.

In keeping with the research paper from the good governance phase of the inquiry, staff advised that elected officials should separate themselves from the procurement process and rely on professional staff working within approved procurement policies and processes.

The City’s Integrity Commissioner concurred with staff’s recommendations and Justice Bellamy’s recommendations support this approach.

Rarely does any single major procurement not also impact several areas of City service. The new structure will ensure a collaborative approach between city divisions and enhance accountability. The Deputy City Managers, along with Internal Audit are now accountable for spot audits of major programs to ensure compliance with purchasing requirements.

The City also employs a fairness commissioner on major projects to review specific procurement practices related to large projects to ensure that the process has been conducted in a fair and impartial manner.

While many of Justice Bellamy’s recommendations related to procurement are currently being implemented the inquiry has sped the pace of change and the recommendations will help to ensure that improvements continue.

In September of 2004 the City introduced the first Canadian municipal Integrity Commissioner. The Integrity Commissioner has a Web site through which the public can receive information on how to register a complaint. The report makes recommendations for broadening the responsibilities of the Integrity Commissioner to include City staff. The City has done everything within the provisions of the current Municipal Act to make the role of the Integrity Commissioner strong.

In the discussions now taking place for a new City of Toronto Act, the City will seek the ability to confer additional powers to the Integrity Commissioner. In addition, I will work with Council, the Auditor General and the Integrity Commissioner to examine and report on how best to implement the recommendations.

The implementation of the Fraud Policy in 2002 and the Fraud and Waste Hotline have also demonstrated to the public and staff that complaints are taken very seriously, investigated and action taken.

The City currently has a voluntary lobbyist registry. The report makes recommendations for the formal implementation of a lobbyist registry as well as other governance recommendations. It is hoped that the new City of Toronto Act will give the City the tools it needs to address several of these issues. Council will need to consider how best to implement recommendations related to governance.

The process for reviewing the recommendations and reporting to Council will take place in the months ahead. During this time, staff will be consulted and recommendations will be costed to ensure that implementation is done in an effective manner that recognizes the various priorities of the City.

Over the next several days, much will be said of the Inquiry report and recommendations.

At the same time, the work of Toronto’s more than 50,000 public servants will continue.

Staff will continue to:

  • care for the elderly
  • provide transit for more than a million riders a day
  • maintain more than 5,000km of roads and another 15,000km of water and sewer lines
  • deliver public health programs
  • clean and supervise the hundreds of pools and playgrounds in the City
  • provide young people with programs and services that build self-esteem
  • offer start-up help to new businesses
  • plant trees and beautify and protect our more than 1,500 parks
  • provide assistance and shelter to the City’s most vulnerable
  • provide safe drinking water, and;
  • rush to the aid of those that call for emergency assistance,

to name but a few.

Back in January while giving testimony at the Inquiry, I also spoke about the dedication of the Toronto Public Service during a period of enormous change. I described the very hard work that was being undertaken in all corners of the organization to make sure that new policies and procedures were being followed. I spoke of the challenge presented by the changes in size and scope that staff has had to meet over the last six years. However, I also acknowledged that the Toronto Public Service needed to continue to make improvement and changes. I want to repeat that message today as we continue to face challenges, identify issues and make the changes required.

As Justice Bellamy stated earlier today, there continues to be good reason for the pride we have in the vast majority of public servants. I continue to be very proud to represent the Toronto Public Service because the staff is an excellent, hard-working and dedicated group of public servants.

Justice Bellamy writes in the report that the past and present have now met up with each other.

As the City Manager, it is now my job to look to the future.

Working with the Mayor and Members of Council, I will work to ensure that the changes that have been made over the past three years continue to be implemented and that the recommendations in the final report of the Inquiries are reviewed and introduced.

This work will continue to ensure the best possible service to residents, delivered through what is, and must continue to be, an excellent Toronto Public Service