Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)

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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis





Letter to the PFR Internal Auditor, August 8, 2007

....Your most recent email was rather discouraging. We may be able to clarify it in person, but I also want to respond in writing, for the public record.

It appears that our two-year attempt to engage the city in adapting current cash-handling approaches has not resulted in a dialogue this time either. As I read your e-mail:

-- you will not be helping us with ideas on how to structure Quickbooks reporting focused on the park food and skate lending programs, so that it would be simple for staff to enter the information and easy to analyze. You suggest that we can ask others outside the city or "consult the user manual," in place of collaboration with knowledgeable city staff.

-- you suggest that CELOS should not alter our current food/skate lending arrangements until Council gives permission to change.

-- you state that you are not in a position to help us understand PFR Management Service's Dufferin Grove budget numbers and categories, with a view to integrating the food/skate money.

That leaves us with your mandate being to simply review the CELOS books and receipts. I therefore invite you to review them at the CELOS office instead of at the park. I'll have a desk cleared for you to spread out what you need. CELOS is of course under no obligation to be audited by a City internal auditor, but transparency is our hobby, so I will supply you with the documents requested. Your working here will allow me to continue with my own work but be available for clarifications, if you should seek them.

Asking us to wait beyond August to begin the next step -- that may not be possible. Our charitable purposes are here. Both the food and the skate lending programs are experiments conducted collaboratively. Therefore we're able to give contracts to others to help in this effort (involving part-time city staff as much as possible, so they can build inside knowledge that won't get lost). It's challenging work -- and very popular.

But CELOS can't exceed our mandate by running day-to-day programs over the long term. We experiment to see if specific programs are useful to park users and feasible for city workers to run. As I've made clear in e-mails and public writings, we consider the food program/skate lending experiment pretty well complete. What remains is to work out a way for the city to integrate the remainder of what CELOS at this point still contributes to these programs. That's a very interesting challenge which needs careful thought and some experimentation. (And -- as I had hoped, and requested -- help from city staff who can collaborate in working through the details.)

Of course, the City can decline to build on our efforts, and drop what's developed at Dufferin Grove. But it cannot require us to go beyond our research mandate and run a food or skate-lending agency.

Note: that was the final contact we had with the internal auditor. (No response.)

Content last modified on March 01, 2017, at 11:01 PM EST