Coun. Rainer Bloess wants auditor general Ken Hughes to take a hard look at the involvement of council members when auditing the infrastructure portfolio this year.
Hughes, subject to council approval, will look at several areas of the portfolio, as I mentioned in this story earlier this month.
During the audit subcommittee meeting last week, Bloess indicated he wants to see if politicians essentially meddled in any construction project behind the scenes. He refers to one project in particular, and even though he doesn’t name it, we all know he’s talking about the Airport Pkwy. pedestrian bridge. The city is already looking into how things went so horribly wrong.
But the investigation can certainly extend many other projects, from bridges to Lansdowne Park.
Here’s the exchange between Bloess and Hughes, all sic.
Bloess: “In terms of the scope of your audit — I can think of a perfect case study before us without naming it — are you going to be looking at councillor involvement in terms of how some of these projects, you know, not come about, but how they evolve and how that they create whether it’s legal implications, cost implications for us. And the reason I’m asking is certainly none of us should be immune from having in an audit identify if we in any way have any involvement.”
Hughes: “If I understand the question from the councillor correctly, we’ll be looking at the areas we’ve identified here. If we find issues that would certainly take us into that realm, we would at this point in time, we’re not specifically going to be looking in that area.”
Bloess: “But you won’t avoid it either. You won’t turn a blind eye to anything you see.”
Hughes: “It isn’t my style to turn a blind eye to something like that.”
Hughes’ first answer is a bit difficult to decipher, but judging by his answer to Bloess’ follow-up question, the AG will flag anything interesting on councillor involvement.
By the time this audit hits the council table, the retiring Bloess will probably be on a beach somewhere, but I bet he’ll still be interested in reading the report.