FFWD REW

Hey! Let’s shoot the messenger!

Calgary council in all its glorious wisdom and bravery has up and fired city auditor Tracy McTaggart.

And it’s about time. She was getting so irksome with her silly questions like ‘Hey why is the city so lacking in the procurement rules department?’ and ‘Ummm… I can’t find a paper trail for almost $750 million in over charges for these contracts that seem to have been awarded without competition.’

Oh and then there’s the whole "pretty much guarantee fraud" is happening at city hall… no wait I never said that. Read my report. It’s just statistically possible that fraud is happening because there aren’t really any hard and fast rules preventing that kind of activity from taking place.

Phhfff…. who needs statistics rules or for that matter easily accessible documents for the city’s top financial watchdog to review when there’s keen-eyed city manager Owen Tobert who in mere days uncovered the problem: Missing electronic files. Ones proving without a shadow of a doubt the city may have only been squeezed for $4.8 million not $747 million. It was a big file but apparently easy to miss if you’re not looking in just the right spot.

Of course electronic files. How did McTaggart an auditor with 30 years experience and armed with an audit squad about half the size she’s authorized to have miss that?

Oh wait. She says she did ask for all related files including electronic ones? Some of the electronic folders her team checked (and re-checked) were empty? And nine days after being humiliated in front of an awfully hushed council and not given a chance to clear things up then and there she says still hadn’t been given the ‘missing’ electronic files? Has anyone seen those missing/not missing files?

But really who cares? What’s done is done. The city admitted mistakes may have been made. Rules may have been broken… or not because there weren’t any. The bottom line is this: city brass accepted all 13 of McTaggart’s recommendations because… you know… she was right.

But there’s still that fraud thing that keeps lingering like an old man’s fart in a public steam room. It’s getting awkward and sticky. What now?

Well there’s her review which was supposed to have been done two years ago but didn’t get started until February because… well the audit committee plum forgot . Wrap that up review it behind closed doors (because it’s private information and we wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone) publicly announce the third-party review says McTaggart’s not performing up to snuff and turf her six months before her 12-month contract extension is up.

Then make sure to point out to ‘the media’ in the room that the review started months ago long before accusations of fraud popped up — no connection. By the time the election rolls around on OCTOBER 18 no one will remember what never happened. Except maybe the auditor that council just publicly terminated. She might. And her lawyer too.

Email: Trevor Scott Howell

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