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By Tracey Arial
Laval now has a new hotline to enable citizens, elected officials, employees and suppliers to report any situation they think stems from corruption, fraud or misconduct.
According to Laval Mayor Marc Demers, the new hotline “confirms the desire of our organization to make sure that our actions ensure government transparency while meeting and maintaining the highest possible standards of municipal integrity and ethics.”
The line went into action last Tuesday, after Laval councillors unanimously voted for it on Monday night. To use the line, call 450-575-BIEL (2435).
Dial one to report corruption, fraud or misconduct to local police.
Dial two to reach the provincial anti-corruption squad UPAC (l’Unité permanente anticorruption).
The cost of running the tip line will come out of the million dollar budget set aside for the 2015 operations of the ethics and integrity office, which is known in French as Bureau d’intégrité et d’éthique de Laval (BIEL).
Laval is the only municipality in Quebec to have an ethics and integrity office, which will eventually be staffed by eight people. Police chief Pierre Brochet serves on BIEL, as do four city bureaucrats: manager Serge Lamontagne, human resources director Marc-André Vigeant, legal department manager Patrice F. Guay and assistant general manager for administration Carole Imbeault. The deadline to submit an application to join BIEL as an auditor ended last month.
Neither elected officials nor citizens are represented within the organization so far.
BIEL has an e-mail address, email@example.com. A website is currently in the works.
By deciding to set up an anti-corruption hotline staffed by outsiders, Laval joins the Charbonneau Commission (1-855-333-2342); UPAC itself, which set up a hotline last November (844-541-UPAC or 8722), and the private company, SNC-Lavelin, which set up its anti-corruption hotline in February 2012.
Normally, such tip lines reach ombudsmen or auditor generals, such as those that exist in the cities of Montreal and Quebec and in public bodies, such as the AMT. Laval has an auditor general as well, but he doesn’t offer a hotline service nor does he serve within BIEL. His office remains distinct from city administration.