Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Now here's a good analysis of the City's own review...

Here's what Lilley from Summerside had to say in the Journal's comments form about the City conducting their own investigation... Lilley -  City to conduct review of concert file?? Isn't that like one fox asking the other fox, "What happened to the Chickens"?

City to conduct review of concert file

Journal Pioneer
Mike Carson
Published on March 2, 2011

SUMMERSIDE – City council is preparing to conduct an internal review into a concert deal that could cost taxpayers $1.3 million.

It was revealed Monday night that a week ago, following a closed session of city council, a resolution was passed calling for council to “review the process that placed the city in the current situation concerning the major concert scheduled for 2010 from an accountability framework including review of staff and council roles.”

Council met again behind closed doors on Monday night to decide how to handle the internal review.

In a statement released late Monday night Gordon MacFarlane, director of Human Resources and Legal Affairs, wrote “council and staff are working collaboratively to determine terms of reference for an internal review to complete an assessment of the process and how to implement effective safeguards to avoid being defrauded in the future.”

While the city’s official statement offers little insight into the issue, the resolution passed by the new city council last week does.  It specifically targets accountability on the part of city management, staff and the former councillors, three of which still sit on council, for their involvement in sending $1.3 million to a San Jose, Calif. concert promoter for a concert that has yet to materialize. The city filed a suit for fraud against the promoter in January. The promoter has refuted any suggestion of wrongdoing.

MacFarlane said Tuesday the terms of reference for the review will cover a wide range of topics not the least of which is who will conduct the internal review.

MacFarlane said the term “internal review” doesn’t necessarily mean the city will be doing the assessment on its own. “The internal part just implies that somebody will be looking at ourselves,” he said. MacFarlane said no timeline has been set for the assessment to be completed.

One of the three remaining councillors who supported the concert deal back in 2009 is Deputy Mayor Bruce MacDougall.  “I have no problem with it (review) being done,” MacDougall said. “If we can learn from it, that’s great.” The whole idea of a new city council calling for an internal review of the actions of city management, staff and the former council implies mistakes were made in the whole concert issue – what was done, how it was done. “It’s not that we’re saying something’s wrong,” he said. “We’re saying let’s do a review so we can learn from this and show the people that were are being accountable.”

Mayor Basil Stewart was also part of the 2009 city council involved in the concert decisions. Stewart said the internal assessment will help council find out what exactly happened.  “We want to determine where this got off the rails and try and be sure that it doesn’t happen again and what can be learned from it,” the mayor said. “Maybe we’ll get it back on the rails. We’ll see how it unfolds.”

Stewart said this will not be a quick look and that the process will take time. “We’re not pointing fingers we’re just trying to get a layout on how things unfolded the way they did,” he said. “They are still unfolding. We’re not going to be a bull in a china shop.”

Councillor Tina Mundy said accountability is what has to happen. “We have to look at what happened and how it happened and make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” she said. “Obviously, something did go wrong. What, we don’t know. We need to investigate it. We need to have a look at it. We need to show the public we are being accountable. The public wants to know. There’s not a day that goes by that somebody doesn’t ask me what I’m doing. So, we owe it to the citizens of Summerside to look into this and find out what went wrong and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Councillor Jim Steele wants an independent party to conduct the review.  Steele said he doesn’t see the internal assessment focusing on the failed concert and the $1.3 million sitting in a San Jose escrow account, but rather using the findings to set a policy to avoid any future misdealings.

“I think what we need to do is find out exactly what we have to do to make things better,” he said. “It’s a situation where it went out of line and we’re going to look at it and get everything in proper order and have everything in line when we do a project. That’s an education part of it. We’re not pointing the fingers at anybody. We’re not going after council.

“What we’re doing is going after a study to make sure that we as a council work together, follow procedures and make sure things are in order so we don’t get into this situation again.”

1 comment:

Jim said...

ha ha - 2 People disagreed with your comment, I guess that means that Basil and Terry Murphy must be reading your blog.