[author: Stephanie Mau]
A Scandal in Brampton
Twenty years ago, Brampton was just a tiny suburb in Southern Ontario with a population of 260,000. Now, it’s Canada’s 9th largest municipality with a population of 600,000 – 2/3 of which are visible minorities. In this time, the members of Brampton City Council have barely changed at all – and that’s starting to become a big problem.
To give you a clear picture of how long these council members have served, the current panel has served a collective total of 238 years on the council. That’s an average of 22 years each.
Instead of all this collective experience making for a wizened, responsible council, these continually re-elected incumbents have started taking advantage of their secure positions of power – and with an electorate that’s been apathetic and disengaged for so long, they’ve been getting away with it.
What’s making people pay attention now?
Just last week, Deloitte Canada published a tell-all report that finally called out Brampton’s city council members for their wrongdoings – and the truth is shocking.
According to their report, the council members – including the mayor – have been charging everything from $220 mobile phone IQ tests to $128,000 worth of expensive flight passes on corporate accounts. You don’t need a high IQ to know that that’s just plain wrong.
Deloitte’s report also identified the key reason for this rampant fraudulent spending. Before 2011, expense reports in Brampton needed to be approved by the city’s finance department – until a new expensive policy was approved, which completely eliminated oversight of the process.
After the policy took place, the council switched to an honour system – basically trusting all their members to carry out transactions without anyone double-checking on them or holding them accountable for any potential wrongdoing. According to Deloitte, this allowed for a total of $172,608 in transactions by the mayor and $46,000 by the rest of the council that breached expense policies to be passed without oversight.
The cat’s out of the bag – and the entire council’s probably out too
Ever since this tell-all Deloitte report blew the cover off of the city council’s shady dealings, the previously apathetic electorate is starting to take notice.
Residents who admitted to voting in the incumbents simply due to their incumbent status in the past several elections are now having changes of heart – and plan on voting out as many of the current council members as possible in the upcoming election this fall.
With such a tight-knit, long-running operation, it’s good that a third party finally stepped up and revealed the city council’s wrongdoings. However, it only came after more than $200,000 of fraudulent spending and two decades of rampant wrongdoing.
If there had been even one brave whistleblower within the city council, this operation, and governmental mismangement, could have been stopped much earlier and thousands of dollars could have been saved. A third party ethics reporting system could have done wonders to protect the city of Brampton from fraud, and it can do wonders to protect your workplace from potential wrongdoing.
An independent ethics reporting system will give you and your employees a safe place to anonymously report any concerns they may have, without any threat of repercussions.