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Calls for more accountability in HRM

There’s a call for more accountability from staff at Halifax Regional Municipality following two reports from the auditor general’s office showing policies and procedures are not being followed.

Coun. Gloria McCluskey (Dartmouth Centre) said she is looking for more leadership from Chief Administrative Officer Richard Butts to change the way the city operates internally.

“I’m counting on Mr. Butts to change all this,” McCluskey told News 95.7 Wednesday. “It’s been so loosey-goosey all these years. I told Mr. Butts when he first came here ‘Mr. Butts, the culture here needs to change.'”

While McCluskey is looking to the city CAO for change, the city’s Auditor General said there needs to be more leadership from councillors.

“Regional council needs to hold its administrator accountable,” said A-G Larry Munroe. “When we have these sorts of recommendations and they are agreed to, and there are implementation plans, and they are not followed through on, I think there are opportunities for regional council to ask more questions and to use that in the performance reviews of the administrators, who should in fact be doing that with their directors and others.”

Munroe tabled two reports during the city’s audit and finance standing committee meeting in Dartmouth on Wednesday. Both reports found that despite policies being in place, staff were not following procedure.

A report on the city’s SAP system – a records database containing confidential employee information, including salaries – found that former HRM staff are still able to access the system. That’s despite policies in place to deactivate former employee access.

“To think that everything went on to that degree, that nobody took responsibility,” said McCluskey. “That’s why I wanted to know which departments (were responsible). That’s information being leaked.”

A second report found that no records are being kept on the city’s more than 42,000 artifacts. There is no itinerary, insurance, or in some cases adequate care of the pieces of artwork and antiques in the city’s possession. This too is contrary to city policy.