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Long-established “ways of doing things” or exaggerated spending by a new administration? The testimonies of the president of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM), Isabelle Beaulieu, and the former president of the organization Dominique Ollivier in the municipal commission, Friday, confronted two versions of the same management story which has been shaking up City Hall for two weeks.
It was a seemingly concerned Isabelle Beaulieu who was the first to testify before the Commission on Finance and Administration of the City of Montreal.
She took advantage of the invitation to empty her bag by describing a set of practices considered irregular within the OCPM: theft of time and poor management of hours worked, unhealthy work climate, rapid turnover of employees. x27;employees and lack of code of ethics, among others.
I made mistakes, I recognize it, I take responsibility for it, she said from the outset. It is my duty to take note of them and act. Our practices must be changed and governed by clear, written rules. I commit to doing so.
Concerning representation expenses for restaurants and travel, I relied on the ways of my predecessors. However, I have reduced the frequency and extent of trips, defended Isabelle Beaulieu, in office since February 24, 2022.
Uncovered this week by the new Secretary General, Guy Grenier, in office since January, a document found in the Office's archives, dating from 2017, indicates that the General Auditor asked the OCPM to modify its practices for travel and restaurants. The note had been rejected by management at the time, said Ms. Beaulieu. The municipal council maintained that it had not been made aware of the existence of this report.
Isabelle Beaulieu explained that she had requested to staff, upon arrival, if there were any written rules or policies regarding the management of the Office, but received no response on this subject. However, she assured that she had put in place numerous measures to put an end to questionable practices within the OCPM.
Yes, we had work meetings in restaurants, like my predecessors. We are putting an end to this practice.
A quote from Isabelle Beaulieu, president of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal
Isabelle Beaulieu testified to various harmful and questionable practices. I quickly noticed gaps in human resources management. There was significant latitude in the payroll system and little oversight from the previous administration, she said.
There was a very free interpretation of presence in the office, emphasized the president, who also mentioned management problems regarding declared hours and vacations.
Even worse, two employees with auxiliary status were receiving their 6% vacation amount each pay cycle, even though they took three to four weeks of paid vacation per year. The former secretary general listed these weeks as worked, she said. She assured that she put an end to these practices with the help of Secretary General Guy Grenier.
There was no code of ethics, everything was managed arbitrarily, she testified. I clarified office attendance rules, vacation policy, work rules; the construction site is vast, but it is in progress, she assured.
In January 2023, anonymous allegations concerning the work climate were led Isabelle Beaulieu to mandate an expert firm to conduct an independent investigation and meet the members of the team, she explained.
This report, published in March 2023, concludes that the new president was not the choice of the political party currently in power in the City and underlines the president's desire to ensure tighter management and more sustained accountability.
Former president of the Office Dominique Ollivier, supporter of Projet Montréal,left the organization to enter municipal politics with Mayor Plante’s team. She became president of the executive committee following her election. She also resigned from this position on Monday, following revelations about her questionable expenses.
Isabelle Beaulieu also took the opportunity to denounce a political context where employees wanted to harm him.