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Management And Training

Officials investigate $1,000 doorbell, other expenses

March 12, 2010
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OTTAWA — Canadian officials are preparing for an independent audit of a maintenance contract after it was revealed the government paid exorbitant amounts like $1,000 for a doorbell installation and almost $2,000 for plants, according to the Toronto Sun.

According to the story, the controversy began this week after reports of what some consider unusually high cleaning and maintenance costs for a Public Works department building, cleaned by SNC-Lavalin Group.

Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose said: "Like all Canadians, we find these expenses extravagant. I asked my deputy minister to review these expenses to ensure that taxpayers got value for money. An independent third party will be named to carry out that task."

SNC-Lavalin welcomes the audit, and says that the costs are comparable to those of other standard service providers, and that their company has saved the government $50 million a year and reduced building energy costs, the story stated.

Leslie Quinton, vice-president global corporate communications for SNC-Lavalin Group, said: "We go through over 500 audits a year for this one contract and are completely at ease in sharing this information since we believe in total transparency and good governance."

An independent auditor will be chosen by next week, the story added.

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