City of Hamilton employees caught golfing, jet-setting and accepting holiday booze from vendors vying for contracts

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Playing golf with your friends, international jet-setting with your friends, accepting free wine from your friends at a Christmas party.

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These things are fine – as long as you’re not a City of Hamilton employee and your friends are city vendors vying for contracts. Oh, and your decisions cost the taxpayer $233,000.

The above misconduct actually happened. This was revealed last week in a Annual City of Hamilton Fraud and Waste Report, issued by the city auditor’s office. NS report good Many examples of city employees are included. abuse taxpayer dollars and city resources, resulting in the firing of eight people.

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The golfers who were fired were the most expensive examples ever. According to the report, between July 2020 and September 2021, $2,000 of the $235,000 cost to the city due to fraud and vandalism was tied to golfers. The costs included the theft of time and, among other things, declined payments to vendors.

The city would not identify the employees involved nor the vendors handing out the perks.

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The report said the scam came to light when a city councilor received information about two city employees playing golf during business hours. The tipster alleged that the golfing friend of the two was a “town salesperson who was in the process of submitting an offer for a vibrant, competitive City of Hamilton Purchase (Request for Proposal, RFP), which cost approximately three years in services over three years. was $2M.”

The city auditor’s office investigated, and uncovered more disturbances. In their conclusions:

  • The two were actually playing golf while at work – involved in the theft of time – and accepting gifts from vendors;

  • A third employee was also participating in “high level golfing with renowned vendors”;
  • One of three employees, who was a member of the RFP evaluation committee tasked with selecting the successful vendor, wrote a reference letter to the firm they were playing golf with, supporting their RFP submission. took place, and then evaluated the seller as part of the evaluation;
  • One of the three made five international trips with vendors in recent years, in one of which they claimed to have represented the city without obtaining authorization. the employee did not tell his bosses and used the vacation time to travel;
  • The same employee “unilaterally increased the rates paid” to a vendor, causing the city to pay “substantial” additional fees and charges;
  • the same employee hired and paid for the same RFP to “provide advice on the terms and specifications of the contract on which the vendor would bid”;
  • Some vendors were “sponsoring” a Christmas party for a team of employees by paying for their liquor.

Upon learning of the auditor’s findings, management brought in a new evaluation team to reevaluate RFP submissions and was committed to implementing improved processes and procedures for managing vendors.

All three employees have been fired.

The city would not provide more details, citing “personnel matters.”

Another notable example of fraud/waste from the report: A city employee arranged for city employees to complete “unnecessary” work on the sidewalk and sidewalk in front of their home. The matter was referred to the staff managers for discipline.

Presenting the report to councilors on Thursday, city auditor Charles Brown called on the city to clarify its conflict of interest policies. Generally speaking, he said that sometimes people don’t realize that there is a conflict of interest between them and that the conflict is “just not being reported.”

City spokesman Matthew Grant confirmed the senior leadership plan to review the city’s conflict of interest issues at an upcoming meeting.

Katrina Clark is a Hamilton-based reporter for The Spectator. Reach him via email: [email protected]

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