At the Mississauga Judicial Inquiry, citizens were more likely to hear the two words, “Fuck Off” than “Ontario Ombudsman”.
March 6th, 2011
This Blog is meant to be a companion piece to the Mississauga News’ March 1, 2011 editorial, “Probe a costly mistake”.
Regarding the City of Mississauga’s new $625.00 an hour integrity commissioner, the editorial states:
“The situation is ludicrous. The previous council rushed Rust-D’Eye’s interim appointment through at the last minute and now we’re paying the price. Literally.
Where’s the integrity in that?
By acting rashly, they eliminated the necessary competition for this key position. Surely there must be a qualified candidate out there who is willing to sort out sticky ethical questions at City Hall for half the fee we’re paying Rust-D’Eye.”
“rushed”, “acting rashly” —true and then some. But you have to ask why. Why did City Staff recommend $625.00 an hour George Rust-D’Eye? And above all, why did the previous Council bulldoze-rush installing an integrity commissioner?
It turns out an obscure item in the City’s Budget Agenda last week provides the answer. Damage Control!
Watch and learn, junior. Watch and learn.
The video, followed by the transcript.
At the Mississauga Judicial Inquiry we were more likely to hear “Fuck Off” than “Ontario Ombudsman” (3:46 min)
MISSISSAUGAWATCH (reading from the Budget Agenda while Mississauga Council is in-camera, March 2, 2011)
Office of the Integrity Commissioner. But let’s read it because this is a lot of fun!
“The integrity commissioner is not a mandatory position and the Municipal Act 2001 even allows this role to be performed by a staff person.”
That’s right. Mike Harris’ 2001 Municipal Act even allows the integrity commissioner of a municipality to be the municipality’s own employee. Think about it!
“There are too many pitfalls and potential to putting staff in this position, assuming you could find someone who would do it.”
I can think of four people already who would do it. The Security Bosses around here.
Next. (laughs) You know, you gotta laugh because this place is like so absurd!
“The expert panel that testified at the Judicial Inquiry praised the work we had done in putting a Council Code of Conduct and Integrity Commissioner in place.”
That’s right. The panel of experts at the Mississauga Judicial Inquiry —and the entire time they were in a panel discussion, not once did you hear the two words that were really important —”Ontario Ombudsman”. In fact we were more likely to hear at the Mississauga Judicial Inquiry the two words, “Fuck Off” than “Ontario Ombudsman”.
And then it says:
“If the City was to now to delete it—”
Meaning The Office,
“—the Commissioner would likely be very critical when he reports his findings, as would the media, and the public. In addition, if there was enough criticism, there is potential for the Province to come in and make the position mandatory, as it is in Toronto.”
—meaning if the City doesn’t have a pretend integrity commissioner in, there’s a real danger that the Province will butt in.
What you’re dealing with here is a Stage 2 Moral Development.
“They could quickly enact an amendment to the Municipal Act to apply specifically to Mississauga if they wanted to, and they could justify it based on the findings of the Judicial Inquiry and the Commissioner’s report. This is a worse case scenario.”
Actually, notice it’s “worse case”? A “worse case” scenario?
Cuz the worst case scenario for the City of Mississauga is for the Province to say “Enough’s enough. We are going to extend the Ontario Ombudsman’s investigative authority into Municipalities.”
But I’d have to say that the greatest horror that the City of Mississauga would have is if Andre Marin were to come in here, kick down the doors with his subpoena powers and say, “I’m investigating you people.”
Boy would I love to see that! God would I love to see that! But it isn’t going to happen.
In the meantime we’re going to have a lot of Pretend. OH! And something else! Just for the record.
Where it says:
“If the City was to now to delete it, the Commissioner would likely be very critical when he reports his findings, as would the media, and the public.”
I wouldn’t be critical at all. I don’t support that use of an integrity commissioner at the City of Mississauga. I think that that’s $100,000 flushed when you could have the Ontario Ombudsman dealing with all 440 municipalities.
So I’m opposed to allowing municipalities to hire their own integrity commissioner.
Or that said, yes, hire one, but also have the Ontario Ombudsman come in because you can’t trust Ontario municipalities to even hire their own integrity commissioners. And worse is now to have some kind of a structure being developed by AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) again to create the illusion of accountability. It’s Local Authority Services all over again.
Worse than Bad.
[Music:“Don’t Crash the Ambulance” by Mark Knopfler]
[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT ENDS]