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Dominique Ollivier criticizes the VG for failing to consult her

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir Dominique Ollivier maintains that several assertions contained in the VG report startled him.

Jeanne Corriveau

Published yesterday at 2:41 p.m. Updated yesterday at 6:25 p.m.

  • Montreal

The former president of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) Dominique Ollivier criticizes the Auditor General (AG) of Montreal, Andrée Cossette, for having failed to consult her or obtain his point of view for the drafting of his annual report, which is very critical of the management of the organization.

President of the OCPM from 2014 to 2021 and now municipal councilor, Dominique Ollivier sent a letter to the elected representatives of the municipal council, who, on Tuesday, discussed in plenary session the report submitted by the VG. She argues that if she had been able to present her position to the VG, she could have clarified certain elements. She deplores that Andrée Cossette only consulted the new management of the organization, put in place following the revelations of excessive spending and the dismissal of Isabelle Beaulieu last fall. “I was in no way consulted or involved in this report. However, the Auditor General assured me last February of her intention to hear from me. She chose otherwise and it is her prerogative that I totally respect,” she states from the outset in her letter.

Dominique Ollivier maintains that several assertions contained in the VG report startled him. By maintaining that “the OCPM has granted itself administrative independence from the City”, the VG shows that it has little knowledge of the context in which the OCPM was created, writes Ms. Ollivier. At the time, she points out, the legislator had allowed the municipal council to adopt a by-law to regulate the Office's expenses. “Which, to my knowledge, has never been done,” she says.

She also questions the findings made by the VG on the budget of the organization and notes contradictions in the report. Regarding the criticisms concerning the financial management of the organization, Dominique Ollivier argues that at least 16 audit reports and two reports from external auditors mandated by the City did not identify any of the anomalies presented in the report.

“I in no way deny the value of the report presented to you today which includes many interesting findings and highlights certain gaps. […] I deplore, however, that faced with these questions that the BVG [Office of the Auditor General] had, before drawing its conclusions, it did not take the trouble to ask for clarification from those who had them. indicates Ms. Ollivier.

Last fall, Dominique Ollivier resigned from the presidency of the executive committee in the wake of revelations concerning the management of the OCPM.< /p>

“The people we meet during our audits are confidential,” Ms. Cossette retorted during a press briefing. “It’s part of the BVG’s approach to keep all the information we receive confidential.”

The VG did, however, confirm that she met with the current management of the OCPM as part of the audit. “We obtained the documents and answers we needed from the various stakeholders we met. So the documents needed for our audit were at the OCPM, and it was on these documents that we conducted our audit.”

She rejected Ms. Ollivier’s criticisms. “We have very elaborate, very strict audit procedures,” she said.

The president of the executive committee, Luc Rabouin, maintained that measures had already been put in place to tighten the supervision of the OCPM. Last December, Quebec also modified the City Charter in order to clarify the status of the OCPM, which remains independent in its consultation work, but which reports administratively to the City. “This means that all of the City’s administrative frameworks apply. There is no longer any ambiguity,” explained Mr. Rabouin. The elected official even said that for 20 years, all the successive administrations at city hall were convinced of the total independence of the Office.

The opposition believes that Valérie Plante should expel from her caucus Dominique Ollivier, who now sits as a municipal councilor for a district of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie. The VG noted “abuses” carried out at the OCPM under the leadership of Ms. Ollivier, argued the head of Ensemble Montréal, Aref Salem. “Members of management were traveling with unjustified taxi coupons. When we see a member of management [who] goes to eat alone in a restaurant for $80 with a bottle of wine, how can we accept such gestures ? »

Ms. Ollivier’s colleagues, however, came to her defense. “Dominique Ollivier is an extraordinary elected official. She does impeccable field work. […] For us, it is an added value to our training,” underlined Projet Montréal advisor Robert Beaudry.

Fewer vacancies

The VG report also raises shortcomings in the management of low-rent housing by the Office municipal d'habitation de Montréal (OMHM), which had, in March 2023, some 2,408 vacant homes, or 11% of its housing stock, and was significantly behind schedule in its building inspections.

The OMHM stressed Tuesday that the situation had improved. Thus, the organization plans investments of 250 million in 2024, compared to 91 million in 2022. It has also updated its waiting list in order to reduce the time taken to allocate housing. The number of households waiting for housing increased from 23,784 in 2022 to 16,174 in 2024. As for vacant housing, there are now 1,350, including 365 currently being rented and 668 which are subject to rental. work, specified the organization.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116