Edmonton’s City Hall adopts 8 recommendations from the City Auditor

Edmonton City Hall

Management at Edmonton’s City Hall has adopted eight recommendations from the city auditor after potentially multi-million dollar problems were uncovered in how construction contracts are procured from the private sector.
The problem was, staff rushed some jobs and didn’t take enough care to make sure the contract was right.

The audit pointed out conflicts of interests in the tendering process, as well as situations where staff wasn’t properly trained, documentation wasn’t done correctly and the size and scale of an entire project wasn’t considered fully.
“It is serious and eight recomendations for an audit report, that is high,” city auditor David Wiun said.
One un-named example was a $142 million project. It led to delays for both the city and the bidding vendors because all of the details weren’t clear at the outset.

“That particular case identified a lack of preparedness on the city’s part,” deputy city auditor Ed Ryl said. “There were numerous addendums and it led to a lot of extra work on the part of the vendors as well, responding to the additional addendums. We highlighted that.

Chief financial officer Todd Burge said the problem was first noticed a couple of years ago in waste management so changes were begun on the whole “procurement to pay” process. Wiun added that the sand recycling audit a year ago led his department to look at the entire city operation.
“They’re almost re-engineering the way they do a procurement now,” Wuin said on how all eight recommendations are being acted on. “So they are taking it serious and I believe they should take it serious.”

Adam Laughlin, the deputy city manager who handles the infrastructure file, told audit committee they’re talking to the industry sooner in the bidding process, so they can improve a projects’ design, size and scale in each “gate” of the process.
“In some cases you might want to engage construction or the industry in the those early gates, to ensure that the right type of scope is defined prior to procurement.”

Mayor Don Iveson asked if that means it will become less likely for projects come in over time and over budget and was told more design upfront would make that possible.
“That is a learning organization,” Mayor Iveson said.

Burge said upwards of 90 per cent of projects come in on time and on budget.
“It’s always the big ones,” he said of the other 10 per cent. “They’re the ones that tend to be more complex and have greater risks. And I think that part of the changes that we’ve made in the way that we’re doing our capital will address some of those risks on the bigger projects.”

“We’re coming off an incredible 15 years of growth that we’ve ever had,” Burge added. “We have an opportunity now to adjust a whole bunch of processes in the city, catch ourselves up of being a bigger city in the kind of process and control you need to be a bigger city and I think this all part of that maturation.”

The city handles about $1 billion in contracts each year covering construction and services. The audit said by rushing things, quite often, not all possible vendors bid which can increase prices.

Edmonton Journal

John Oplanich

Mr. John Oplanich - Ward 3 John Oplanich was born and raised in the Wild Rose Province of Alberta. John grew up on the north side of Edmonton. For the past 30 years he has lived in Castle Downs in the Baturyn community with his wife Elizabeth and three children Michael, Natalie and Ariana. John spent 23 great years in the pharmaceutical industry working with one of the largest companies in the world based in Montreal and Paris, France. John is an excellent communicator who is outstanding at building relationships. He knows what the words “hard work” and “dedication” really mean. Learning first hand from his immigrant blue collar parent’s from Croatia and Italy. He has carried these same ambitions with him into the world of real estate as a Land Developer in North Edmonton and has become a very keen investor in the Valley of the Sun - Arizona. John Oplanich is a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in private sector corporate business management in various industries including real estate. Mr. Oplanich is fluent in Italian. John spent 5 years as a volunteer (Health Council) with Capital Health (Alberta Health Services) between 1999 and 2004. He was recognized with a Certificate of Appreciation for 5 years of service as a volunteer (Health Council) with Capital Health (Alberta Health Services) between 1999 and 2004. He has also enjoyed volunteering coaching over the years. He calls himself the “best gate keeper in hockey.” John spent his early years of schooling at St. Angela’s Catholic Elementary School and Sir John Thompson Junior High School. He graduated high school from St. Joseph High School in 1979. John then went on to the University of Alberta where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. His interests are economics, urban planning and health care. John is a strong believer in education and believes everyone should try that institution of higher learning once. His key concerns are Education, the Economy, the Environment and the wasteful spending which translates into more then ever taxes for Albertans. Never shy to share his ideas and successes with people he meets. He is looking forward to meeting many of his friends and neighbours in Ward 3 campaigning for City Council. Many of you probably remember John Oplanich during the City of Edmonton Civic Elections 2010 and Provincial Elections in 2012.

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