By Robert Frank
Here’s a summary of what the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations (www.IGOPP.org) recommended that Laval do with the 15 parapublic organizations that fall under its ambit:
Big changes are in the offing for the economic development dynamo that has long helped to make Laval a magnet for capital investment and head offices.
Technopole would be divided in two: It would become much more like other local development agencies in Quebec, administering capital investment funds to support local business. Its 44 staff would be shorn to a maximum of 18 employees, with the rest to be absorbed directly into the municipal bureaucracy as part of a yet-to-be-created city economic development department. Their role would be to attract investment and cut red tape.
The non-voting elected officials who currently sit on Technopole’s board of directors would be limited in future to a consultative role. Technopole would, in return, keep city hall informed of its activities by submitting a strategic action plan to council.
Centre local de développement
IGOPP concluded that Laval’s existing local development agency is a unique, odd duck: It is overseen by Laval’s regional government and its activities run by Technopole. It’s being urged to strip needless overhead from its budget in order to maximize the money available to support Laval businesses and to provide much more transparent accountability.
Fonds de soutien and Gestion de fonds de soutien
IGOPP said that it’s unlikely that the programs that both these agencies administer will be extended. Consequently the pair might be liquidated very soon, rather than waiting until those programs expire at the end of 2015.
Office municipal de l’habitation
The housing agency’s board of directors needs to be independent of the city. It should abolish the board’s executive committee and instead form an audit committee.
Société de transport de Laval
The public transit agency would increase the number of board members from seven to nine and ensure that most of them are independent of the city, which would form a municipal commission to set out objectives and oversee performance and governance.
Place des ainés
Replace elected officials and municipal bureaucrats with independent board members. Provide city with financial statements as well as a report on its activities.
Centre de la nature
Limit the board of directors to nine members, most of whom would be independent of the city. Limit the number of elected representatives on the board to two members of city council.
Turn over the responsibility for organizing large sporting competitions hosted in Laval to city officials. Assign operations and maintenance of sports facilities to an outside organization.
Grant the popular tourist destination and youth facility independent status as an outside organization at arm’s length from the city and hand its reins to a board of directors. The city also has to do its part by clearly specifying what short- and long-term financial commitments it expects from Cosmodome.
Centre d’expositions horticulturelles et commerciales
No reason to continue supporting. Abolish.
Laval en fleurs
IGOPP declined to comment on this parapublic organization, as the matter is currently before the courts.
Cité de la culture et du sport
Maintaining the status quo for the combined arena and cultural event complex the city wants to build is risky, IGOPP concluded. It offered the city two alternatives: Either establish a project management team to oversee the project, none of whom should be seconded from city hall; or absorb the activity into the municipal administration.
Laval doesn’t need a shell company to accomplish these objectives, IGOPP asserted. If the city doesn’t give the organization a renewed mission accompanied by a substantial budget with which to accomplish its new goals, there is no reason to continue its existence.
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