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Report recommends using Innisfil’s integrity commissioner

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Nov 25th, 2013
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New Tecumseth Free Press  November 25, 2013

Following on last week’s request by mayor Mike MacEachern to employ an integrity commissioner to deal with future complaints about council, a report on tonight’s agenda recommends copying Innisfil and extending the offer to John Mascarin of Aird and Berlis at a rate of $550 per hour effective Dec. 1, 2013.

His appointment would run through the remainder of this term and three months into the start of next council mandate in 2015, at which time councillors would determine whether to extend the agreement. Mr. Mascarin, who last month was appointed by Innisfil in the same capacity, is scheduled to be in attendance at tonight’s meeting. Three other associates are listed with hourly rates ranging between $275 to $375. Fees would only be paid when called upon to deal with particular complaints.

Last week, mayor MacEachern told councillors he believed an integrity commissioner should be utilized following “a number of instances, where individual council members have made allegations and accused other members of council with regard to fairly serious things, and at the end of the day it turns out there’s rarely any evidence that supports the allegations that are being made.” The mayor has not explained what the allegations were, nor what internal process took place that deemed the allegations to be without merit.

The integrity commissioner would work in “an independent manner the functions assigned by the municipality with respect to, (a) the application of the code of conduct for members of council and the code of conduct for members of local boards or of either of them; (b) the application of any procedures, rules and policies of the municipality and local boards governing the ethical behaviour of members of council and of local boards or of either of them.

“The CAO/In House Counsel operating budget annually includes funding for legal and consulting services that arise during the year,” according to Terri Caron’s report to council. “During the interim appointment period, it is anticipated that such accounts would provide sufficient funding for work required to be undertaken by the Integrity Commissioner. Once the interim period concludes, there will be sufficient experience for the new Council to determine if it wishes to continue with the appointment and to budget appropriate funding in future year budgets reflective of the financial implications experienced during the interim appointment period.”

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