CAO Testimony at Good Government Phase of Computer Leasing Inquiry, January 19, 2004
On Monday, January 19, 2004, Madame Justice Denise Bellamy commenced the Good Government Phase of the Computer Leasing Inquiry. During the next three weeks, the Inquiry will hear from academics, public servants, journalists and others to assist Justice Bellamy in formulating her final recommendations.
The first presenter, Toronto’s Chief Administrative Officer Shirley Hoy (the CAO), described her role as ensuring the effective provision of advice and support to the Mayor of Toronto and Council in developing policies, plans and priorities, and the management of the City’s human and fiscal resources.
Ms Hoy discussed the City’s recent and proposed activities to build a robust and skilled workforce that can prevent, monitor, detect and rectify management control lapses, particularly with respect to procurement. She recognized the expertise and contributions of staff, particularly in Purchasing where the value of transactions has more than doubled in three years. She told the Inquiry that future Purchasing improvements are focused in four areas: Roles and Responsibilities, Training and Development, Capacity Building and Contract Management.
Ms Hoy described the measures the City has put in place over the last three years to improve individual and corporate accountability, integrity, procurement processes, management control and staff morale. These include a revamped budget process, a new Audit framework, fraud and conflict of interest policies, a code of conduct for members of Council, limits on the use of consultants and a number of management controls – such as the contract release order and management checklist. Ms Hoy also described the City’s efforts to require lobbyists to disclose their business, create an Integrity Commissioner and build a system of shared values and principles among staff through the Toronto Public Service initiative.
Ms Hoy then responded to questions from Commission Counsel Mr. David Butt, City Counsel Ms Linda Rothstein and Justice Bellamy regarding responsibility for managing contracts, staff understanding of conflict of interest, and proposed procurement processes, such as a Fairness Commissioner to review large contracts. Ms Hoy stated that one of the City’s priorities is to implement the Auditor General’s 43 procurement recommendations by year-end.
Ms Hoy described the manner in which internal and external audit functions complement one another to detect, prevent and rectify problems. She also described the City’s new technology end-of-lease strategy and quarterly variance reporting to Council. Ms Hoy pointed out the need for longer term planning and for setting and adhering to budget priorities.