Transit corp. overdue for an administrative overhaul, says David De Cotis
The president of the Société de transport de Laval says corrective action is being taken at the STL, following criticism from former STL president David De Cotis, who accused the public transit agency of failing to address shortcomings that were outlined in the City of Laval auditor general’s most recent annual report.
De Cotis, who was vice-president of the City of Laval’s executive-committee and president of the STL until a controversial break from Mayor Marc Demers’s Mouvement lavallois, says the person who replaced him, Councillor Éric Morasse (Saint-François), needs to do a house cleaning at the STL based on conclusions in the auditor-general’s report.
“Mr. Morasse needs to show leadership,” De Cotis said in a statement. “The auditor-general found several important shortcomings in the management of a large number of dossiers and the management sees nothing significant in this. A plan of corrections must be quickly presented to fix the situation.”
A-G made 16 suggestions
In her report, the auditor-general made 16 recommendations to improve the STL’s management. De Cotis said Morasse should feel compelled by the report to table a plan in city council with a timeline for when the shortcomings will be fixed.
Among the auditor-general’s criticisms, she noted that the STL’s internal auditor might sometimes be called upon to participate in the management of operations that he might later have to audit. As well, she suggested that there is no mechanism in place so that an employee in the STL management can declare when he is in a conflict of interest situation when contracts are awarded.
Serious issues, De Cotis says
“These are crucial factors that can be at the root of administrative mishandling,” De Cotis commented. “Some conclusions by the auditor-general are serious. The documents handed over to the STL board are scattered, lack precision and are incomplete. How do you expect to have ethical management that is responsible and transparent? This is not a situation to be taken lightly. Corrections must be made.”
With all this in mind, De Cotis drafted a resolution to be tabled at the October city council meeting, calling on STL president Éric Morasse to come up with a detailed plan and a timeline for getting the STL back on track, based on the recommendations contained in the Laval auditor-general’s 2019 report.
STL head Morasse reacts
Councillor Morasse issued a statement to The Laval News last Monday, reacting to De Cotis’s remarks. “First of all, we are aware of the report by the auditor-general and we are pleased to report that things are looking good at the STL when it comes to good management and governance,” he said.
‘Some conclusions by the auditor-general are serious,’ SAYS De Cotis
“The STL is showing itself to be working hard and the administrative board favourably welcomes the recommendations from the auditor-general with a great deal of openness. Besides, among the issues raised by the audit, several of them have already been addressed and fixed.
Plan coming, says Morasse
“We have been working for several months on an action plan aimed at taking into account elements from the audit, notably regarding the documentation from different procedures of contract management. As agreed with the auditor-general, this action plan will be tabled in October. “Our administrative board has been showing leadership throughout the year,” added Morasse.
“We didn’t wait for the Mr. De Cotis’s proposals to get into action. I would like to point out that in 2019 we received the Prix Performance Québec, the highest distinction issued by the Quebec government, for the quality of our overall performance. We are the first transit corporation to receive this distinction.”