Coun. Bob Doiron is demanding the City of Charlottetown open its books, accusing administration of spending millions without council’s approval.
At council’s monthly meeting on Monday, Doiron called for a full independent review of City Hall operations.
“I’m sick and tired of being stonewalled,’’ Doiron said, noting that he’s been asking for information for months to no avail.
Namely, the councillor said he has documents that indicate at least $1 million has been spent for road work Doiron says council never approved.
Coun. Terry Bernard, chairman of the finance committee, responded, saying council approved $2.5 million for street resurfacing, work that has been tendered and is in progress.
Bernard said in 2018, council approved $3 million for street resurfacing and by the end of the budget year, the street resurfacing net cost was $2.6 million and even with HST included, is still under the council-approved budget at $2.9 million.
"We broke the tender for street resurfacing into two packages in 2018 as opposed to putting out one request for $3 million worth of work,'' Bernard said. "Each tender had a list of streets attached to it, along with estimated quantities of asphalt expected.
"There was a mistake made in the tender on the tonnage of materials requested in that we requested more asphalt than we needed for both packages. As a result, the public works committee agreed to add streets to both packages with the already tendered contract to use up the tonnage that was quoted.''
"(The documents) show council hasn’t approved these expenditures and it’s really concerning to me. This concerns me that the tax money is being spent without proper authorization. The tendering process hasn’t been as open and transparent as they’d like to say.’’
-Coun. Bob Doiron
Doiron did not table his documents nor did he provide them to the media when asked, explaining that he has to talk to the city’s legal counsel first and that council’s code of conduct prevents him from releasing the information.
“I’ve been asking these questions since the new council came in in November and I haven’t been getting any answers,’’ Doiron said following the meeting. “I’ve been asking for eight months in a row. (The documents) show council hasn’t approved these expenditures and it’s really concerning to me. This concerns me that the tax money is being spent without proper authorization. The tendering process hasn’t been as open and transparent as they’d like to say.’’
Doiron said these documents simply appeared in his mailbox mysteriously, saying that they were invoices for “$400,000 here, $5,000 there’’ and that council hadn’t authorized the spending.
“They’re just invoices,’’ he said.
Doiron noted that any expenditure above $25,000 has to come before council, as per the Municipal Government Act.
The councillor said since he’s getting stonewalled by council his next step is to approach the provincial minister of Municipal Affairs.
Coun. Greg Rivard, vice-chairman of the finance committee, and Mayor Philip Brown said the finance committee will deal with Doiron’s concerns at a meeting next week.