Public Values

Montreal auditor general pulls plug on water meter privatization contract

Rates hikes of 167 percent, spiraling costs, conflict of interest cited.

September 23, 2009 — Part of the scandal that's engulfed a P3 water contract in Montreal is the money spent on contracting out jobs the city's own workers could have done.

The city of Montreal's auditor has issued a devastating report that spells the end for a scandal-plagued P3 water meter contract. In his report, the auditor says CUPE municipal workers could have done some of the work in-house.

The city paid to train and accredit hundreds of plumbers from private firms. But Michel Parent, the president of CUPE 301, says the city's outside workers could have been trained and accredited to plan for, install and maintain the meters. Parent says he met with management to say the workers were capable of doing the work themselves, but got an unequivocal 'no' in response.

"By contracting out the maintenance for a 15-year period, the city of Montreal would have completely lost its expertise, and would have been at the mercy of the private sector," Parent told the media yesterday...

From the Montreal Gazette: Some key findings from the auditor general's report

September 21, 2009 — $355 million? Ha! More like $600 million

The $355.8-million price tag on the contract is only a fraction of the city's costs for the project. It's really over $600 million.

The city executive committee was given a presentation of the project that was planned on May 31, 2006. Estimtated cost of the project over three years: $95 million. The project price tag then went to $150 million, then to $242 million, then $400 million, then $423 million and then $600 million...

To read further, please click on the links below:

Links and sources
  Scrapped P3 meter contract bypassed city workers, by CUPE, September 23 2009
  Some key findings in the auditor-general's report, by the Montreal Gazette, September 21 2009

Posted: October 05, 2009

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