Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - Editorial - Fast and loose on the public dime

And the shit keeps raining on us with no relief in sight - Editorial - Fast and loose on the public dime: "Former Ottawa Rough Rider great Ron Stewart seems to have saved some of his best dekes for after he hung up his cleats.
Auditor General Sheila Fraser issued a scathing report into the ex-running back's later career as ombudsman for federal prison inmates, charging that he skipped work, billed personal expenses to the taxpayer and travelled on the public dime to destinations that had nothing to do with his duties.
Fraser found that Stewart collected $325,000 in improper or questionable salary, vacation pay and expenses in the six years between 1998 and 2004. Her probe didn't extend to the previous 21 years he held the job.
She said he was often absent from work, rarely attended staff meetings, frequently couldn't be reached by aides and charged the government for hospitality and travel apparently unrelated to his work, including five trips to cities hosting Grey Cup games.
Fraser wouldn't comment directly on whether any of the alleged misconduct amounted to criminal wrongdoing but she noted pointedly: We have referred the file to the RCMP.

There were other horror stories in Fraser's report, including:
* A sampling of seven of the 88 information technology projects launched since 2003, worth $7.1 billion, found rampant mismanagement.
* Controls on public servants charge cards were lax at the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency, though there were only a few instances of direct abuse.
* Government was not vigilant enough about recouping $82 million in overpayments under Old Age Security program.
* Treaty negotiations with First Nations in British Columbia were badly bogged down, with not a single treaty signed as costs skyrocket to $426 million since 1993.
n Scandal in the RCMP's pension and insura"

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