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Mississauga Council Code of Conduct takes investigations away from Integrity Commissioner (Governance Committee deputation)

April 20th, 2012  

Today’s blog, our previous entry, Mississauga blogger to City of Mississauga Director of Corporate Security, “CITY STAFF LIE.” and the related Additional Resources will be sent to the City of Mississauga as Correspondence for inclusion in both the Governance Committee minutes as well as a future Council meeting agenda.

As is our custom, our video, complete with transcript.

For the record, this video was presented as a deputation at the April 16, 2012 Governance Committee meeting.

Mississauga Council Code of Conduct takes investigations away from Integrity Commissioner  (16:39 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BEGINS]

Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

R-5, I think it is.

R-4. Motion to receive them? Second?

MISSISSAUGAWATCH, whispering into camera, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

This is the one.

Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

Councillor Mullin? Thank you.

Councillor Pat Mullin, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

Yes, I read “R-4”. And I guess my question, and this is regarding the whole complaints issue, with regards to Don Barber at the Council meetings.

And there is an addition to this which talks about the possibility of an investigator. And I guess my concern with that would be, well first of all is that the cost of relatively significant.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH, whispering into camera, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

Use the Ontario Ombudsman.

Councillor Pat Mullin, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

And how many times would an investigator have to come forward to take a look at complaints.

But I guess I’m looking for some direction from possibly Staff if there is something that we can put in place which would be, I guess would be a complaint procedure —against Staff. And maybe somebody could respond.

Or if there’s another way in terms of looking at it.

I talked to Mary Ellen Bench about it and I mean I’m wondering if there is something like maybe the ombudsman that could take a look at something like this.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH, whispering into camera, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

Yeah, yeah.

Councillor Pat Mullin, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

And it just seems to me that it would be an ongoing scenario—

Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

Yuh.

Councillor Pat Mullin, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

—and a continuation. And never a satisfaction at the end of the day. That we would be just putting more and more money into this.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH, reporting April 14, 2012

Now regarding “never a satisfaction at the end of the day” and “putting more and more money into this”, I want to talk a little bit about the Integrity Commissioner and public complaints against elected officials.

And to do that, I need to refer to the February 17, 2012 Corporate Report and its first recommendation with respect to the mandate of the Integrity Commissioner.

That report states, quote:

 That the Governance Committee reaffirm that the mandate of the Integrity Commissioner shall be to act as an advisor to Members of Council on matters relating to ethics and the Council Code of Conduct,

That’s one. And

to act as an educational resource to Members of Council in this respect, and to independently receive and investigate complaints regarding a possible breach of the Council Code of Conduct by a Member of Council;

Now the previous clip was video of the May 21, 2008 Council meeting.

And Councillor Mullin, when she was referring to “never a satisfaction at the end of the day” —it had to do with several complaints that Donald Barber had filed against, specifically, City Security.

And it’s now, what? April 14, 2012 and those issues still have not been resolved.

So the “never a satisfaction at the end of the day” continues.

And so for Donald Barber, for me, for all citizens, the quote, “to independently receive and investigate complaints ” is the Integrity Commissioner’s most crucial role. I really believe that.

Receive the complaint. And investigate the complaint.

Now the Integrity Commissioner’s mandate to investigate complaints is clearly a major theme throughout several corporate reports —either relating to the Integrity Commissioner of the Council Code of Conduct.

“Investigate complaints” is echoed in the February 17, 2012 report in the “Integrity Commissioner – Request for Proposals” too.

submitted to Council at its meeting of March 26, 2008

[scanning Corporate Report]

We go on. And there’s plenty of information here.

There’s some of the —extensive list of complaints that he’s got.

And what’s interesting is, there’s Step 1, “The City should engage an independent and impartial person or entity
to carry out the investigation and prepare a report.”

“Screening and Acknowledgement of Complaint”.

Essentially what they’re doing here, is a lot of this, you can recognize in the Code of Conduct regarding investigations and so on.

But what’s really astonishing is down here, this comment. “Financial Impact”.

Fees would be based on the amount of time spent to conduct such an investigation and an initial estimate is that this could easily exceed $50,000.00.

Just on Mr. Barber’s complaint alone.

And it says the financial impact:

Cannot be determined with certainty and will depend on the scope of the investigation, the number of witnesses to be interviewed and the volume of the material to be reviewed. Anticipated to exceed $50,000.00.

So with that you’re almost looking here at an integrity commissioner. For one person.

So with that context, we’ll now here what Councillor Mullin has to say.

Councillor Pat Mullin, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

You’re looking at $50,000. Plus. And I’m not sure how much money has been put into looking at some of these complaints so far.

But I see it as possibly an ongoing scenario that might never really come to a satisfactory conclusion. So, I guess I’m looking for some direction.

Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

Councillor Mullin, I met with the City Manager this morning. I have not see the report.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH commenting on the Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008 on April 14, 2012

Now the Mayor mentions an ombudsman twice. Listen.

Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

And I was going to ask, I was a little slow in asking, that this report be referred back to look at a process.

I think we should look at —we talked about an ombudsman like the City of Toronto has appointed.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH commenting on the Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008 on April 14, 2012

Like Toronto has an ombudsman.

Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

Because we’ve already had one which cost us close to $50,000 and there’s another one that might be— And I, when you read the report it also says that not all the information has been provided to be investigated. In addition to that, so I would ask Council to refer it back to Staff

Councillor Pat Mullin, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

I’ll be happy to—

Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

And the City Manager to further the investigation on it. And to come up with a policy and a process.

Whether we look at an ombudsman—

MISSISSAUGAWATCH commenting on the Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008 on April 14, 2012

Again, “ombudsman”. A specific person to deal with public complaints against Staff.

Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mississauga Council meeting, May 21 2008

—is something we should look at. Or what other opportunities —or what other options there are for us to consider before we proceed with this one.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH, reporting April 14, 2012

And that was May 21, 2008 and that issue still hasn’t been addressed. It hasn’t.

And while there’s now an integrity commissioner in place to file complaints against elected officials, there still is no consistent person —ombudsman or integrity commissioner, or otherwise, to deal with complaints against City Staff.

And that includes everything right up to the Commissioners and the City Manager.

So it’s interesting to look at the May 21, 2008 video and see that [shakes head and gestures, “WTF”]. And that’s the other thing I would request is for the Governance Committee to perhaps consider expanding the mandate of the Integrity Commissioner to also include complaints against City Staff.

Thanks.

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT ENDS]

Signed,
MISSISSAUGAWATCH

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

May 15, 2008 Corporate Report, SUBJECT: Complaints filed against City staff by Donald Barber at the Council Meeting of March 26, 2008

Mississauga blogger to City of Mississauga Director of Corporate Security, “CITY STAFF LIE.” (6:38 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

Blog, Mississauga blogger to City of Mississauga Director of Corporate Security, “CITY STAFF LIE.”

ANDRE MARIN, ONTARIO OMBUDSMAN QUOTES from "Sharpen Your Teeth III" course
“You can always find an expert ready to be bought off” —Ontario Ombudsman’s Sharpen Your Teeth III course 2009.

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