A recent audit showed a million dollar scam among the city’s senior staff behind city councillors’ backs, and now, councillors have decided on next steps.
At the beginning of June, an audit report was released that implied a secret bonus program had taken place among senior staff for five years, from 2009 to 2014, wherein approximately $1.25 million was paid out, unmonitored or tracked, as bonuses to staff.
None of the staff who received these hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of untracked bonuses have been named.
City councillors and Mayor Jeffrey have been gearing up to decide on next steps since the report was released. Jeffrey had apparently suggested a second audit to probe further into the scam.
On Wednesday, June 21, city councillors voted at council to make the next move.
“We don’t know what we’re dealing with,” said Councillor Elaine Moore. “So, let’s get a legal opinion as to what, potentially, we are dealing with when or if this ever reaches the point where we have to send this to the police.”
While Jeffrey suggested another auditor and Moore suggested legal action, several councillors were in support of a different route.
A police investigation was the next motion on the table, supported by several councillors, including Councillor Martin Medeiros, Councillor John Sprovieri, and Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon.
“We don’t call lawyers for every issue we see that might be criminal, we call the police,” said Dhillon. “They have more authority and ability to look into this matter.”
Medeiros’s initial motion to have police investigate discretionary and non-discretionary staff salaries was amended to having police investigate anything related to the Outside Policy Requests (OPR) program in terms of salary increases after much objection and questioning from Councillor Michael Palleschi.
Medeiros responded that he was “unsure how those salary attributions were recorded within policy, but without rationale.”
While motions for a second audit and legal action did not pass, Medeiros’s amended motion did, with a unanimous vote of 10-0.
Peel Regional Police will be investigating the allegations against the $1.25 million dollar senior staff slush fund.