Swimming With Sharks

“Swimming is only a life-saving skill if you go near the water.” – KPMG guy.

(h/t John McGrath)

Where do you go to learn how to say such things while keeping a straight face? It’s a statement I wish I’dve come up with, figuring out how to saturate it with loathing for the kind of people who had the balls to utter that kind of drivel out loud. There must be a special class you take while earning your MBA.

A week into the pretend, inverse show trial that is the KPMG Core Services Review report to standing committees, we already know the company wasn’t hired to find efficiencies at City Hall. It’s all about cuts and only cuts. No examination of the social implications of the suggested cuts. Not our purview. Here’s what you can cut and here’s the savings you could achieve enacting said cuts. That is all. We accept credit cards, cash and cashier cheques as forms of payment for our services.

The thing is, why spend the money for any of that information? If it was all about what services we could cut and the money saved doing it, almost anyone with relatively strong literacy and numeracy skills could’ve delivered a similar document, locked away for a weekend at the low, low cost of an internet provider, 2, maybe 3 cases of beer and a freezer full of pizza pockets. Of course, we could get out of the day care business, privatize libraries and TTC routes, sell off or outsource everything not nailed down. The questions we need answered is, should we? And what would the fallout be in doing so?

Our reaction to the KPMG should be nothing more than, well d’uh.

More to the point, why does anyone listen to anything that comes with a KPMG seal of approval? They were the organization that told us amalgamation would save the city money, weren’t they? Didn’t they also assure the world that Iceland’s economy was hunky dory just before it Thelma and Louised over the cliff?

Google ‘KPMG scandal’ and behold the laundry list of questionable practices it has found itself involved in not the least of which is the Bernie Madoff scandal. Tax shelter fraud. Bribery.

While KPMG has avoided the fate of fellow auditing giant Arthur Anderson, it has primarily done so through quick settlements that prevent its numerous cases of fraud from ever reaching court. Though most of the focus of the financial crisis of 2008 has been placed upon the nation’s big financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Citibank, more evidence is arising over the role of auditing firms throughout the subprime loan disaster. KPMG was the first “big-four” firm to be hit with a lawsuit, accused in 2009 of “grossly negligent audits” of home loan provider New Century Financial Corp.

I mean, wow. Why would we be basing the future wellbeing of this city on the advice given to us from an organization with that kind of sketchy history? Never mind that they already steered us wrong once by giving cover to the pro-amalgamation forces led by Mike Harris with their questionable analysis of the cost benefits to the move.

Are there no adverse consequences to being wrong in their line of work? It seems that not only should we take KPMG’s report on our core services with a grain of salt, we should assume the opposite of what they’re telling us to be true. How many times do we have to suffer from the results of bad advice before finally saying, you know what? Maybe I’ll ask someone else.

Of course, bad advice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Looking at the KPMG bigger picture, an argument could be made that their job is to deliver the news those paying for their services want to hear. We think amalgamating Toronto is good idea. Would you agree with that? We don’t want anyone to think our banking system is about to collapse. Would you tell them that’s true?

I am sick and tired of my hard earned tax dollars going to give those who can’t afford it swimming lessons. Could you make that happen? Thus, “Swimming is only a life-saving skill if you go near the water.” “Prevention of contacting a communicable disease is only a life-saving skill if you’re having sex with the wrong kind of people.” “Reading is only a life skill if you go to a library.” “3-1-1 is only life saving if you mistakenly dial 9-1-1.”

We got a million of them, folks.

The only thing we should take from the KPMG Core Services Review report is the fact that it reveals the Ford Administration’s real intent. It was never about finding efficiencies or gravy. It was never about respect for the taxpayers. It always has been about cutting the government down to proper, libertarian size. Hacking, slashing, burning.

They just needed to give their dark impulse a shiny sheen of researched respectability. We have just the people for the job! I know why the likes of Mayor Ford believe that. But why does anyone else?

swimmingly submitted by Cityslikr

3 thoughts on “Swimming With Sharks

    • You could spend it on consultants even though you sat through 10 plus years of briefing notes to know where there is waste unless you commission more money for slanted reports…

      “They are really 400 million projected deficit for 2012 because there is construction and more properties to tax & land transfer tax…
      Plus TTC will go up. KPMG has some corruption problem with Sino Forest given it is also an auditor.” S

      – Hide quoted text –
      On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 12:02 AM, G wrote:

      I was talking to Paul at Sammy’s. He was wondering why Toronto is suddenly 700 million in debt and Ford and KPMG are playing these games.

      One thing I can tell you is the consultants KPMG were really big years back and had a headquarters on Bathurst near King. The company I used to work for did nearly all of their printing. They went under and didnt’ pay us for printing and moved and didn’t pay employees or their biils. So it is now a scam outfit.”

      P.S. High and Dry time bomb fries…

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