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Government Audit Makes Recommendations to Improve City of Cranbrook

The City of Cranbrook has responded to a governance and management audit that was completed in October 2019, recommending a number of changes to provide clarity and transparency to the community.

The 94-page report was completed by George B. Cuff & Associates Ltd. and was originally acquired and made public by the Cranbrook Townsman through a Freedom of Information Request. Following the release of the report, the City of Cranbrook has since responded and Mayor Lee Pratt provided the following statements.

“We found that as an organization we are fundamentally sound, but there are some areas where we can improve. We are committed to making those improvements for the benefit of our residents, the business community along with potential developers and investors,” said Pratt.

“We were very happy with our experience with Mr. Cuff and his associates during this process,” continued Pratt. “George and his team brought over 40 years of municipal governance and best practices expertise to the table during this process and we believe implementing his recommendations will be of value in taking the right steps forward.”

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According to the report, the audit was completed using both e-mailed surveys and on-site interviews with all members of Cranbrook City Council, all members of Senior Management, and other municipal staff. That process formally began on September 30, 2019.

George B. Cuff & Associates Ltd. made several recommendations to the City of Cranbrook following the completion of the audit, which encompasses governance, confidence and trust, communication, strategic planning, organizational review, management, and hiring processes.

Noting the wide range of recommendations, some included that all of City Council be kept in the loop on issues and that the Mayor’s office circulates those updates bi-weekly, and that Council commits to a “new style of governance” and incorporates a Governance and Priorities Committee.

The report recommends the entirety of the corporation focuses on “rebuilding trust”, that policy is established based on the City’s commitment to ensure transparency is “pursued and supported” in communication to Council. A number of other recommendations include committing to a “comprehensive” Strategic Plan, a revised organizational structure with a reasonable number of direct reports for the CAO’s office, and the development of a “positive culture” within the City.

“To best assure its success, this organization must be designed and built to take advantage of all that Council, management and staff have to offer,” concludes the 94-page report. “There is currently a significant gap between the City’s reality and its potential, and this governance audit has shone a light into the places where improvements need to be made. Cranbrook is fundamentally sound, but an internal, organizational culture change is needed to let the City develop its potential.”

The full 94-page report can be found here, with a vast number of redactions protecting private information.

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