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Musings of a Smiling Idiot - Brighton Politics and more...
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Brighton Ontario Politics - Musings of a Smiling Idiot - Brighton Municipal Politics looking for transparency and fiscal accountability.
Brighton Ontario Politics - Musings of a Smiling Idiot - Brighton Municipal Politics looking for transparency and fiscal accountability.

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Councillor John Martinello spearheaded a motion Monday inviting the Ontario Ombudsman to attend a public meeting in Brighton.

It seems that CAO Bill Watson was very clear with the rules regarding the OO services, but since receiving my letter, he is now confused as to the rules (even after speaking with several lawyers).

If the lawyers that CAO Bill Watson has spoken to are unclear on the rules, then it would seem that he is speaking with the wrong lawyers. Regardless, I really don't understand why he would consult lawyers on the taxpayer dime rather than phone the office of the Ontario Ombudsman for free and get the information directly from the horse's mouth??

Related: http://www.smilingidiot.com/integrity-commisioner-brighton-cao-bill-watson/

#brpoli #onpoli
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Former Ontario ombudsman André Marin wants to run for the opposition Progressive Conservatives in the upcoming Ottawa-Vanier byelection, driven into elected politics by anger over petty tweaks to electricity prices announced in the latest throne speech.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/former-ombudsman-andre-marin-wants-to-run-for-progressive-conservatives-in-ottawa-vanier

#onpoli #PCPO #AndreMarin 

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My letter to Brighton Council expressing concerns regarding the procurement process utilized in the search for an Integrity Commissioner for Brighton.

Full correspondence: http://www.smilingidiot.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Brighton_Integrity_Commissioner_Procurement_CAO_Bill_Watson.pdf

Dear Mayor Walas and Councillors,

Thank you Mayor Walas for your email below. At the time it was received, I was unsure as to why you had sent it to me. Now that I have had an opportunity to listen to the audio file from the August 15, 2016 meeting of Brighton Council, I understand that you were expecting me to post it on social media for you. If you had indicated this in your email, I would have been happy to help you with this, but ultimately I think that it would be more appropriate for you to setup your own social media account(s) and post such communications yourself. Many mayors have their own social media accounts and use them very effectively in communicating with residents and the public at large.

More importantly, I would like to take this opportunity to address some serious concerns regarding the procurement process utilized in the search for an Integrity Commissioner for Brighton. Sole sourcing does not ensure the best value for taxpayers and is problematic for a variety of reasons, so why was it used by CAO Bill Watson? Especially considering that this is contrary to Brighton's purchasing by-law. Section 2. of Brighton’s Purchasing By-Law states “PRINCIPLES: To purchase and supply the proper equipment, materials, supplies and services when needed, with the Right Quality, the Right Quantity, at the Right Price, from the Right Source and at the Right Time in a manner that is fair and equitable to all.” Section 4.15 of the Purchasing By-law states that “Purchases may be made from a single source without quotations or tenders” but none of the exceptions apply in this case.

CAO Bill Watson stated at the August 15 Council meeting that “I don’t believe that the purchasing by-law in this particular matter is pertinent, because I believe that it falls within my ability purchase” and he also stated that “it’s my opinion that the purchasing by-law does not require me to get three quotes”. In my opinion the purchasing by-law is pertinent to all purchases by all staff. So how is it that CAO Bill Watson deems himself exempt from the requirements of the Purchasing By-law?

Section 4.8 of the Purchasing By-Law which relates to the delegated authority from Council to the CAO states that three quotes are required and the item must be previously approved in the budget. There was nothing in the 2016 budget for investigations by the integrity commissioner. As such why didn't CAO Bill Watson's recommendation to Council include the funding source for his recommendation? Additionally, what action will be taken to ensure that all future purchases will follow the Purchasing By-law?

Another serious concern is why did CAO Watson, Mayor Walas, Councillor Ostrander and Councillor Vink state that the Ontario Ombudsman’s office would appoint an Integrity Commissioner and charge the Municipality of Brighton for services rendered? This is categorically false. There is no cost to municipalities associated with complaints to, or for investigations by the office of the Ontario Ombudsman.

Yet another serious concern is why did CAO Bill Watson place a copy of the following letter (as transcribed below) onto each Council member’s desk shortly before the start of the public meeting on August 15, 2016? This would appear to be a clear attempt by CAO Bill Watson to influence the vote outside of the public eye.

"There has been quite a bit of chatter on social media today regarding my recommendation of John Ewart as the Municipal Integrity commissioner. I am concerned that two issues are prevalent in that discussion, the first is that this recommendation is somehow improper and second is that Mr. Ewart's integrity is in question.

First this is my recommendation on my own experience, Mr. Ewart is one of 28 Municipal law experts recognized by the Law Society of Upper Canada, Mr. Morin is not. Both Mr. Marin and Mr. Ewart have some experience with the Municipality, it is my impression that Mr. Ewart's involvement has been more constructive.

I have made this recommendation because I believe Mr. Ewart can provide advice to me and to council as we move through issues. In the past Mr. Ewart has offered practical advice to a variety of issues on an as needed basis promptly and at reasonable rates. Given this experience and his relative location it is my opinion that Mr. Ewart is ideal for this appointment.”

The statement "Mr. Ewart is one of 28 Municipal law experts recognized by the Law Society of Upper Canada" by CAO Bill Watson is erroneous and misleading. The list provided by LSUC is actually for "Specialists in Local Government". Regardless, the premise that an Integrity Commissioner must be on the LSUC "Specialists in Local Government" list is nothing more than a red herring.

There is no basis in fact, or law that requires an Integrity Commissioner to be a lawyer, let alone be on some list curated by the Law Society. This is underscored by the fact that Brighton's last integrity Commissioner, Mr. Nigel Bellchamber is not a lawyer.

There is also no basis in fact, or law that states that an Integrity Commissioner could (or even should) be used for support and counselling purposes as CAO Bill Watson suggests. The sole purpose of an Integrity Commissioner is for the "application of the Code of Conduct and other procedures, rules and policies governing ethical behaviour for Members of Council" (quoted from Brighton's Code of Conduct, By-Law No. 019-2016). Why would CAO Bill Watson attempt to morph the scope of responsibility for the Integrity Commissioner into a role of support and counselling?

This letter by itself has tainted the procurement process and should be grounds for the removal of CAO Bill Watson from any further dealings in the selection of an Integrity Commissioner for Brighton.

Clearly, public trust has been shaken by these statements, actions and inactions. What specific steps will Council be taking to ensure that the selection of an Integrity Commissioner is fair and equitable to all and conforms to all relevant laws and by-laws?

I look forward to your detailed reply.

Sincerely,

Adrian Ellis

#brpoli

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Brighton's Own: Anja Croes Brighton Ontario Events online town crier and cheerleader

#BrightonOntario #Brighton
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Just received an email regarding the selection of an Integrity Commissioner for Brighton that will literally BLOW YOUR MIND!
In addition to the selection process not being inclusive, it seems that at least one candidate was deliberately excluded.

The email shows that Mayor Walas said he would forward the candidate's details to staff for a report to Council, seems that didn't happen.

So who is the mystery candidate? He is a lawyer and the most qualified municipal expert, with decades in the oversight business.

The excluded candidate is the former Ontario Ombudsman, André Marin.
There are some serious questions that need to be answered by Mayor Walas and CAO Watson.

#brpoli
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