Ombudsman Issues CoH Investigation Report

December 14, 2013

Noting the “maladministration that permeated the Outerbridge Administration,” Ombudsman for Bermuda Arlene Brock issued her report into governance at the CoH and the Waterfront Development in particular.

This follows after her announcement in March of a Systemic Investigation into the Corporation of Hamilton [CoH] in the public interest.

Ms. Brock said: “The Waterfront Development seems to illustrate the general allegations of poor governance.

‘The report title: “4×6=262” refers to the fact that the Request for Proposal [RFP] to select a development partner for the Waterfront Development consisted entirely of a 4 inch by 6 inch advertisement.

“This ultimately led to the CoH and the chosen developer signing a 262 year ground lease.”

Ms. Brock said: “The advertisement, 4×6, constituted the entire RFP. There were no supporting specifications, guidance or other scope, parameters and documents that would typically accompany an RFP.

“The CoH’s decision not to follow their own Tendering and Quotes Policy, their failure to invite the technical staff to provide input into the RFP process as well as the absence of materials such as submission guidelines, evaluation criteria and parameters of the project created an environment for arbitrariness, non-transparency and abuse of power.

“Not only was the RFP advertisement wholly inadequate, but the submission process was unclear and the evaluation process was unfair. If one page of the report could capture the inadequacy of the RFP process it would be Appendix III.”

Ms. Brock said: “With respect to the RFP, the most problematic issue is that there is no credible evidence that all of the conditions that the CoH resolved should be fulfilled prior to entering into contracts were actually fulfilled.

“Further, the CoH’s own legal obligation to consult with an existing tenant prior to assigning rights to third parties was never complied with.”

Ms. Brock said: “If there were only three or four mishaps in governance or just a few technical gaps in the Waterfront Development process, then everyone would readily forgive normal human failings, ignorance, lapses and misconceptions.

“However, the maladministration that permeated the Outerbridge Administration – especially as reflected in the Waterfront Development – seem to have crept up at every corner in a dazzling, infinite, relentless variety and willfulness of ways.

“With this RFP process the CoH effectively asked respondents to enter a game in which not only were the rules of the game not explained to them, but the rules were not created until the game had already begun.

“In such circumstances, observers cannot help but suspect that the rules were being created to ensure that a certain participant wins. Transparency, accountability and fairness do not seem to be the CoH’s strongest suits.”

‘Prior to tabling this report, all persons about whom there were adverse or other comments were given the opportunity to view extracts related to them and to provide written feedback.

“They also had the due process opportunity to be heard in a meeting with the Ombudsman [and to be represented by a lawyer or other person] in accordance with s.17 of the Act.

‘Eleven persons, of whom four were members of the CoH submitted written responses. Two persons, one of whom was a member of the CoH, requested oral hearings.”

Ms. Brock said: “Most of the members of the CoH therefore waived their statutory opportunity to respond and to have their concerns about this report reflected [either as corrections or restatements]”.

A limited number of copies of “4×6 = 262” can be obtained in the Office of the Ombudsman for Bermuda at 14 Dundonald Street in Hamilton.

The Ombudsman’s report can be read in full below [PDF here]

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Comments (39)

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  1. O'Brien says:

    I hope this doesn’t get ignored amidst the referendum debacle. THIS is the big scandal we need to focus on. All the signs point to something very rotten inside City Hall…

    • Passive Aggressif says:

      It certainly appears that way. Where there is smoke, there is fire!

      • Hmmm says:

        Where is Betty Trump and the group of PLP supporters. This PLP plan shows us some real truths.

  2. Triangle Drifter says:

    Oh dear, the holder of any of the names mentioned in that report must be sitting themselves.

    The amount of time, effort & money expended on this COH over their p/poor management of the city is staggering.

    The whole lot should resign in shame.

    • Passive Aggressif says:

      How many think that they will be having a series of meetings about this so that they can pay themselves for each meeting?!

  3. Common Sense says:

    This is a truly devastating report by the Ombudsman who appears to have laid out exactly what has been going on, usually behind closed doors, at City Hall. No wonder some COH members were fighting tooth and nail to have it suppressed.

    We should all have a great deal of sympathy for the executive staff at City Hall who were completely bi-passed, and in some cases have been threatened with dismissal. Their technical staff were treated as though they did not exist despite having a heck of a lot more experience and expertise than those elected to run the City.

    And what a nightmare for the Government to unravel. It appears that the Mayor and his cohorts have taken the decision to lash out at Government and spend thousands and thousands of taxpayers dollars in an effort to block the changes in legislation even after their failed attempt to suppress the Ombudsman’s Report. Can anyone advise how many meetings the COH have held with their taxpayers, either formal or informal, to explain the situation and seek their support before spending their hard earned taxes on legal fees?

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Ignoring technical people when they should be listened to. Sound familiar?

  4. Victor says:

    In the shadows lurks The Godfather, …to be continued

  5. daughter of the water says:

    can anyone stop this wild, out-of-control trainwreck of a ‘mayor’? surely he doesn’t have carte blanche with the city’s purse…. is their no proviso to halt him and his self-serving CoHorts?

  6. jt says:

    I bet the corporation and some others were gambling on the PLP winning the last election and went all in. We’ve now seen the flop. Keep playing Ms. Brock, the turn should be interesting and the river will reveal all.

  7. swing voter says:

    At least one common Councillor saw this train wreck comming and had the good sense to resign….smart man

    • buzz says:

      I guess he was Smart get out b4 the walls
      come down, he wouldnt have to
      worry when the poo hits the fan but even
      a dummy knows it cant last forever !

    • Hmmm says:

      Was he a coward to resign? Surely he should have stood up and stopped this nonsense.

      • buzz says:

        Its hard to Stand up when you are playing marbles , you
        just take your winnings and go home. b4 mom gets home !

  8. Worried says:

    The best author in the world,could not write a more intriguing script!

  9. swing voter says:

    hummmm what year was Ms Brock commissioned? talk about picking your fights carefully/wisely

  10. Ringmaster says:

    With all the stuff being thrown against the PLP and its time in office, we all have the PLP to thank for creating the Office of the Ombudsman.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      They must have thought that she was going to be in their pockets. As Gomer Pyle used to say “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”

      • Serious Though says:

        Next the quangos

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          Yes, that would make interesting reading too. Should not be too difficult to cement them together.

  11. Johnboy says:

    I find it amazing how the COH was seldom even mentioned and now its got more plot twists than anything showing in theatres right now…..

  12. d.o. says:

    Go get them Ombudsman. Please don’t stop there. Only pray the replacement is as strong and digs deep and far and does not become a puppet but an advocate for truth and justice. Maybe a team of the Ombudsman and Auditor General could be interesting. Look back.

  13. Barracuda says:

    We knew this was coming and I’m sure its not over.

  14. Accountable says:

    Will anybody be held to account?
    Talking to friends,if the OBA sit by and do not take anyone to court,after prudent investigations,THEY WILL LOSE THE NEXT ELECTION.

  15. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    The Mayor and his Cohorts need to be Removed ASAP.

    • The Wise One says:

      1. Start a Petition.
      2. Walk on the City Hall.
      3. Attend all meetings.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Not bad ideas but the people who need to take action are the rate payers who are footing the bill for this nonsense. Not muchh the average guy in the street can do though I’ll bet the businesses appreciate the support.

  16. Board member says:

    Get rid of those incompetent,self serving beings!

  17. 'nuff sa-d' says:

    You go Ma’am.

    I think that you’d have Bermuda on a faster road to recovery.

    You would have my VOTE!

  18. campervan says:

    The weasel that thinks he’s a wolf. Doing untold weasely damage to Bermuda’s good name.

  19. OMG says:

    In addition to all of the above Outerbridge & others have also charged for Cell phones, Ipads, Ties & Suits by the COH taxpayer?? See other reports.
    Surely the voting people who put them there should be saying enough is enough??

  20. Wondering says:

    These clowns still in office?

  21. Smart dresser says:

    We paying for Mayor Outerbridge’s threads? He don’t dress too sharp.

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