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Too Long to Release Integrity Reports

Posted May 2nd, 2017 in Municipal, fonthill

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Mayor Dave Augustyn’s column for the week of 1 May 2017

An odd thing happened at Regional Council last week. On a vote of 14 in favour and 11 against,
Council nearly did not approve the agenda for our April 28 meeting.

What does that mean and why?

The first order of business for any municipal council is to approve the agenda – that is agree on
what to discuss and consider during the meeting. It’s usually approved without fanfare and the
meeting begins.

But last week, after some other Councillors and I outlined our concern that the Chair neglected
to include three Integrity Commissioner’s reports, 11 Councillors spontaneously voted against
the incomplete agenda.

You may recall that, after some high-profile public protests, Council reinstated an Integrity
Commissioner (IC) on December 8, 2016 and forwarded four Code of Conduct complaints about
Regional Councillors. As others made subsequent complaints, Staff forwarded them to the IC.

On February 2, 2017, the IC submitted two reports to the Region on investigations about the
conduct of two Councillors. In each case, the IC did not find a breach of the Code of Conduct
and did not recommend any action by Council. Therefore, Staff simply published the reports to
the public and Council on March 24.

Since then, a Regional Councillor revealed that the Integrity Commissioner investigated him and
completed three Code of Conduct violation reports. Further, Staff revealed by email that the IC
filed these reports to the Region on February 14, 2017.

In essence, this means that the Integrity Commissioner completed three investigations,
determined that a Councillor(s) breached the Code of Conduct, and issued reports to the Region
in February with recommendations on how to handle the contraventions.

Why is this important? To use a hockey analogy, if there is bad behaviour on the ice, the referee
blows the whistle, stops the game, and makes a ruling. In this case, the referee has blown the
whistle, and now we need to know why.

At our meeting last Thursday, I asked the Regional Chair to explain why these reports were not
included on either the March 2, March 30, or April 27 Council meeting agendas. (Why did I ask
this? With knowledge of these three reports, it is ultimately then the Chair’s responsibility to
“ensure the appropriate placement of items on the agenda.”)

Unfortunately, more than 10 weeks later, the reports have yet to see the light of day.

By the end of last week’s meeting, Regional Council directed Staff to include any future Integrity
Commissioner reports automatically on the next/subsequent Council agenda. Thankfully, this
means that the February reports will finally be dealt with on May 18 – our next meeting.

You may contact Mayor Dave at  and read past columns at .

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  • A great community service to keep everyone informed. Thank you for this!
    Louise M.


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