Ombudsman’s report deemed not ‘overly critical’

By Karen Fallon

A complaint lodged with the Ontario Ombudsman’s office by local resident and Jason Lavigne regarding the procedural legality of the emergency closed session meeting called in February regarding the naming rights for the road leading to the new recreational complex was dealt with recently.

Mayor Wayne Hurst spoke about the investigation carried out by Ombudsman Michelle Bird at the April 4, council meeting.

The in-camera meeting in question was called after council discovered that local resident Jim Massen’s, donation of $105,000, part of which secured him the naming rights to a road leading to the new complex, had come under question because of his past.

Ed Posliff, a lawyer acting for the town, says the result from the three points raised in the complaint was explored by the Ombudsman.

However, says Posliff, it was found that the town had followed its procedural bylaws and it was deemed appropriate that the meeting go in-camera as it was a topic that should be heard in-camera.

“The only quibble,” said Posliff, “was that the section of the Act that council relied upon as the Ombudsman determined that a different “sub-section of the Act should have been used.”

“Overall I think it is fair to say that the Ombudsman’s report, although pointing out some areas where practice could be improved, wasn’t overly critical of council’s actions,” said Posliff.

However, noted Hurst, steps will be taken in the future to ensure council’s transparency and it will be made more open to the public.

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