Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)

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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis





Ward 18 book-keeping

At the second "Community Resource Group" (CGR) meeting about the possible rebuilding of the park clubhouse, ovens, gardens, etc., recreation manager Sue Bartleman said that one good thing about central PFR management taking over the running of the park is that "now we know where the money goes."

But in fact the park book-keeping is a bit of a shambles.

This is a shame, since in the last 6 years the city paid more that $70 million for a new IT system called FPARS (purchased from the multinational software corporation SAP SE). It was meant to...

"...improve accountability and transparency to the public regarding city services; thus fostering public trust in City government by offering better public access...to budgets and related information such as the value of services and the resources allocated to those services." [Excerpt from the Nov.1 2013 staff report on FPARS required by the city auditor.]

But those goals can only be met if the data entry is reliable, and in Ward 18, it's not.

It's likely that Dufferin Grove Park and the related programs at the other Ward 18 facilities are a not untypical example of the poor quality of data entry into the system across the city, and that is worrying.

SAP Ward 18 2015 and 2016 spreadsheet

Some examples:

SKATE LENDING INCOME: Ward 18 data reporting is incomplete and often contradictory. In the case of skate lending, the Ward 18 SAP report for 2015 gives different income numbers than the actual staff count sheets from Dufferin Grove.

2015: SAP reports the skate-lending income (categorized as "ski equipment rentals") as $10,490, but the daily Dufferin Grove count sheets add up to $14,618.

2016: SAP states the skate-lending income as $15,191, but the daily count sheets add up to $15,340 -- a closer match but still not the same.

Wallace Rink and Campbell Rink also have skate-lending programs and yet neither have any skate-lending income listed in SAP at all. Where did that income go? SAP is supposed to enumerate every activity, and connect that activity to the right location.


To track individual programs, the city's financial transactions are recorded with a location code called a "cost centre." Purchases for Campbell Rink, MacGregor Park, and particularly Wallace Rink are often, but not always, assigned to the Dufferin Rink location code. Why?

Even when the location code is right, the amounts don't match.

2015: The Dufferin Grove Departmental Purchase Orders (DPO's) add up to $96,204 paid out for food. Add the $33,312 listed on the city's Pcard (Open Data) list of staff credit card transactions, and it comes to $129,516 spending on food supplies.

But the SAP record shows $118,849.

2016: The DPO's for food add up to $81,644. Add $12,817 total spent on food through the staff credit cards, and it comes to $94,461 spent on food supplies for Dufferin Grove.

But the SAP record shows $144,114.

Part of mismatch may be that food spending for Wallace Rink, Campbell Rink and community dinner, and MacGregor snack bar and community dinner was sometimes entered into SAP with Dufferin Grove location codes. The other three parks show very little food spending, even when there is "cafeteria revenue" attributed to those locations.

So we can guess what might have happened, but the reporting is so messy and inconsistent, that if someone on the staff at any of the Ward 18 locations is channeling funds to somewhere else, there's no way to find out through the city's expensive SAP book-keeping system.


food program operating at a loss now?

2015: the Dufferin Grove staff daily income count shows a total of $136,711 for the year. The SAP record shows "Cafeteria Revenue" as $79,384, plus "Sale of materials" as $46,866. Assuming that both those numbers are food income (someone must know for sure), they total $126,250. The difference is over $10,000.

And there's another problem: in 2015, the food supplies (i.e. the raw materials) cost almost as much as the product (snack bar food, Friday night supper, bread, pizza day). The income from the staff daily counts was $136,711. The cost of the groceries was either $118,849 (SAP) or $129,516 (grocery invoices). Excess of income over expenses: either $17,862 (SAP) or $7,195 (daily income count vs. grocery receipts). How is such low income possible?

For comparison:

In 2010, the last year of the full partnership between front-line park program staff and CELOS, the Quickbooks accounting program showed grocery expenses of $89,587 and food income of $184,935. Income over expenses: $95,348.

2016: the SAP record shows "Cafeteria Revenue" as $87,473 and "Sale of Materials" as $37,736. Again assuming that all those numbers are food income, the SAP total is almost the same as in 2015: $125,209.

But the 2016 staff daily income count shows food income as $112,094.

The food costs match up even less than the previous year: the food invoices show $94,461, but SAP shows $144,114. Worst case: the food operations may have lost $18,905 (expenses over income). (Note: in 2016, it appears that the food costs the SAP record attributed to Campbell, MacGregor and Wallace went down a lot -- so perhaps most of the food costs were lumped into the Dufferin location code, hence the jump in food costs.)

When CELOS went to talk to the city auditor's office about the omissions and discrepancies back in 2014, the audit staff said that their office doesn't have the funds to investigate small discrepancies of only a few thousand dollars.

But if Ward 18 is an example of the SAP discrepancies in every city program, the picture that the city councillors and the public get would be far from trustworthy.

Note from Jutta Mason: on May 29 2017 this page was sent to Laurie Owens, Manager of PFR Financial Services, with a request to let me know of any errors she finds here. As of November 25, there has been no response from her.

In addition, on June 5 2017, we submitted a new freedom of information request to the city.

Content last modified on November 26, 2017, at 02:19 AM EST