Financial practices review to get underway June 25

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By Ron Giofu


The town had a chance to meet a representative of the firm that will be conducting the financial practices review into its finances.

Deloitte, represented by Jamie Lanoue at Monday night’s town council meeting, will carry out the financial practises review starting today (Wednesday).

The firm was introduced by representatives from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, including Tim Ryall and Roger Moyer.

“Jamie and his team will begin in earnest this week,” said Moyer.

Moyer outlined the areas that will be targeted during the review with those including matching revenues with expenses, municipal assets, reserves and reserve funds, communication with council on financial matters, financial practices and policies and agreements, policies, procedures and bylaws.

This type of review doesn’t happen every day, Moyer noted.

“This sort of review is actually quite unique,” he said. “This is a unique process.”

Municipalities conduct annual audits, he noted, and emphasized this is a different sort of situation.

“This is not an audit,” he said, following the presentation to council. “This is a municipal financial practices review.”

The ministry and Deloitte have requested “unfettered access” to the town, with Moyer stating the aim is to have everything out in the open during the review.

“Amherstburg should be an open book in terms of this review and analysis,” Moyer told town council.

The review will date back five years, from 2009 to this year and Moyer expects the findings to be back before council in early September as they want to ensure it is completed before the nomination process for the Oct. 27 municipal election is over.

While Moyer described the scope of the investigation as “broad,” he said expanding it if necessary would “be a bridge we cross when we come upon it.”

Lanoue said his staff will take three to four weeks of field work in Amherstburg working with staff and members of council with staff from both Windsor and Kitchener involved.

“The team we’ll be bringing in have a lot of municipal experience,” said Lanoue.

The review will not entail “drilling down” at specific transactions, he added, and that it will be looking at overall financial practises over the last five years.

“I do think this review is about where the town is at today and where the town needs to go moving forward,” said Lanoue.

CAO Mike Phipps told council that it will be a “very intense three weeks for the finance staff” and that other requests for information may have to be placed on the back burner.

“Right now this is our top priority,” said Phipps, “and we have to keep focused on that.”

“We finally got it going,” Mayor Wayne Hurst said after the meeting. “It’s going to be interesting to see them get involved. I think everyone wants to see what changes will be made.”

Hurst said “many inroads and changes” have taken place since the problems first came to light last year and predicted the ministry and Deloitte will “applaud some of the changes that have been made.” He was pleased with the selection of Deloitte, saying they have skilled people to handle this review.


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