Edmonton City Auditor asked to review anonymous letter listing worries about snow-clearing

The city auditor has been asked to review a letter from parks and roadway services employees outlining concerns with how their department is run.

The anonymous 11-page letter, obtained by Global News and sent to city councillors, details their worries about mismanagement and the quality of leadership since the Transportation and Streets department merged with Parks and Recreation in 2017.

It further summarizes anxiety over street-clearing policies that could put the public in danger and over the use of equipment they claim is ineffective and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The concerns in the letter have not been independently verified by Global News and it is not clear how many employees authored its contents.

No one from the city was made available for an interview.

In a statement, the deputy city manager for city operations, Gord Cebryk, said employee concerns are taken seriously.

“We have shared the letter with the Office of the City Auditor as well as the Employee Services department for review and investigation per the City’s established employee complaint process,” Cebryk said.

A verbal update on the city’s snow and ice policy, operational practices and a response to some of the concerns expressed in the letter will be presented to council on Wednesday.

Councillors receive letter

“There’s always two sides to a story,” said Coun. Scott McKeen.

“I think that you can have disgruntled employees so it’s really hard to pick out how credible it is. We have to follow up… What I guess I would like to see is the auditor dig into it.”

McKeen said the letter raises a lot of questions.

“I think the streets this winter … the emails I’ve received have been pretty angry about the state of the streets this year.”

Coun. Mike Nickel said this is not the first time he has heard issues coming out of this department.

“I think we still have a challenge with regards to where employees can come forward and they don’t feel they’re going to be threatened if they want to do things better,” Nickel said.

Nickel said the authors’ anonymity is an issue.

“We can’t operate on rumour and innuendo. That’s the other side of the question. It’s a bit of a conundrum when you’re sitting in council and you don’t have a signature on the bottom of the letter so this is a challenge for management really to address these things.”

However, he supports the city auditor investigating the concerns.

“It’s in their realm.… I think they’ll make a determination on it.”

Have a tip about this story? Contact Vinesh Pratap at vines[email protected] or Julia Wong at [email protected]

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