Friday, July 25, 2014

Mayor Ruttan 'Victim' Of Legal Opinion?

 Wording Could Impact City Staff

Mayor Ruttan seems to be once again victim to the opinion of others as witnessed by his reasons for deciding to discuss Bestwicks' notice of motion in-camera. Ruttan is quoted in the Daily News as saying he thinks it's very regrettable, where we are all the way around. He then went on to say he would like to be more open and transparent about it if he could but under the circumstance based on a lawyers recommendation he is just not able to do it.

Ruttan said the reason for going in-camera was concern that wording in the motion could impact city staff members. Really? That is the reason for going in-camera? That is the legal advice "the motion COULD impact city staff members" that you have decided to take this matter IC?

Follows is the wording of the notice of motion, as read by Councillor McKay in open council on July 14, 2014 minus the preamble containing all the 'whereas' clauses:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

Option #1:

 1.      Council strike a task force to conduct an investigation of the events leading up to the cancellation of the Leadercast on or before May 5, 2014 and report back to Council before August 31, 2014;
2.      City Staff be directed to cooperate fully with the investigation by providing all relevant records; and
3.      City Staff be directed to seek the cooperation of the VICC Operator and Event Sponsors in order to make a full accounting of the facts and where necessary seek consents to waive confidentiality arrangements.

Option #2:

 1.      Council appoint an independent investigator to conduct an investigation of the events leading up to the cancellation of the Leadercast on or before May 5, 2014 and report back to Council before August 31, 2014;
 2.      City Staff be directed to cooperate fully with the investigation by providing all relevant records on a confidential basis and support to the independent investigator;
 3.      City Staff be directed to seek the cooperation of the VICC Operator and Event Sponsors in order to make a full accounting of the facts and where necessary seek consents to waive confidentiality arrangements.
 4.      The independent investigator must demonstrate that he or she has no prior business dealings with the City of Nanaimo, City Staff, the VICC Operator, Council or the Event Sponsors; and
 5.      Any requests made by the independent investigator to City of Nanaimo under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (BC) and Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Bylaw be given top priority.

Recommended options for an independent investigator:

o   Honourable Brian Peckford, former Premier of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador;
o   Mr. Mike Patterson, former Council member, the City of Cranbrook, from 1979 to 1999, the last nine years as Mayor; or
o   Mr. Jonathan Baker, Legal Counsel of Baker and Baker, and former Alderman, the City of Vancouver, serving from 1986 – 1992.

Recommended options for a task force:

o   Councillors Johnstone, Bestwick and McKay; and
o   Exclude any City Staff that may be in a conflict of interest – City Manager, Manager of Legislative Services and General Manager Corporate Services.

Follows is the wording from the Community Charter referenced as reason for taking this matter in-camera:

90  (1) A part of a council meeting may be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered relates to or is one or more of the following:
(a) personal information about an identifiable individual who holds or is being considered for a position as an officer, employee or agent of the municipality or another position appointed by the municipality;
(c) labour relations or other employee relations;
(g) litigation or potential litigation affecting the municipality;
(i) the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose;

How It COULD Impact Staff

The Notice of Motion refers to staff's involvement should council agree to conduct an investigation in this matter as follows:
  • City staff provides all relevant records
  • City staff seeks the co-opertaion of VICC operator, event sponsors
This motion would hardly seem to provide impact on city staff members beyond simply doing their job. Since when was that reason to throw a veil of secrecy over what should be a public matter? In fact over something that is a public matter, having been read in open council.

After an investigation is conducted it could very well impact city staff, should the investigation discover some form of wrong-doing on the part of city staff members. However, at this point it would seem the only impact this motion would have on city staff would be to conduct their job in a fashion you would expect.

One could be forgiven if one were to wonder if the reason for all of the secrecy at this point isn't because of a fear this investigation would uncover some wrong-doing. It would seem the only reason at this point for such a bizarre move by city hall which included redacting a public record.

Demand A Written Opinion From Mayor Ruttan & City Lawyer

Since the taxpayers of Nanaimo are picking up yet another legal bill associated with the May 5th Leadercast decision, we should be allowed to read the written opinion which supports the application of the provisions of the Community Charter Sec. 90 in this case.


We should also see a written opinion from our Mayor as to his rationale for adopting the opinion that this notice of motion could impact city staff.

Yet another example of Democracy - Nanaimo-style!!




allvoices

1 comment:

  1. ... and the scandal keeps growing. Now they are going to try to cover things up as much as possible by ensuring that what they say and do is kept away from the public record. If there was every a story for Ezra Levant to report on this sure is it. What are they hiding?

    Sincerely,
    Devon Kruggel

    ReplyDelete

Your comment will appear after moderation before publishing,

Thank you for your comments.Any comment that could be considered slanderous or includes unacceptable language will be removed.

Thank you for participating and making your opinions known.