A letter to Tay Valley Councillors (cost of Integrity Commissioner hearings)June 17, 2020
Dear TVT Councillors,
I was disturbed to learn, yesterday evening, that $16,000 of taxypayers’ money was spent on the recently-completed Integrity Commissioner hearing into Councillor Darling’s alleged violation of the Code of Conduct for TVT Councillors.
I suspect that you, in turn, will be disturbed to learn just how much these Integrity Commissioner hearings are costing the taxpayers. A while ago, I filed a request for records, under Ontario’s Municipal Freedom of Information law, that reveal that the 2018 Integrity Commissioner report into Councillor Farrell cost TVT taxpayers just under $14,000. The requested record is appended to this email.
That report was so badly flawed that it has been challenged in court. I filed another request for records, to determine how much the Township has spent thus far, defending against this appeal. The answer: $10,700. This record is also appended to this email.
So to date, two prosecutions of two councillors have cost the township approximately $41,000—and the legal costs are by no means exhausted, as the appeal of the first judgment has not come to a conclusion.
May I make the modest suggestion that your Code of Conduct is a mess? The Code is:
- far stricter than the one with which I, as your MP, am required to follow—and nobody would argue that the MP Code of Conduct (linked HERE) is excessively lax, or that Parliament does not deal with issues at least as serious as the ones that are dealt with at Tay Valley Township Council; and
- administered by your staff and the Township solicitor in a manner so rife with conflict-of-interest issues and personal vendettas that even when cost issues are left aside, the whole system has, in my view, been an outrage.
In the coming days I will be filing further requests for records relating to the matters that were dealt with in the Integrity Commissioner report that was presented in Council last Tuesday. I believe that a full display of these records may well reveal that the ruling was politically motivated, selective in its presentation of the evidence, and perhaps fatally flawed in some other respects as well. I will keep you posted.
In the meantime, if the records that I shared with you in this email are new information to you, why don’t you ask your clerk, Ms. Mabo, why she does not proactively share information about Tay Valley Township’s legal bills with members of Council. You might even consider passing a resolution instructing her to share all such bills with Council in the future. Just a thought.
In the meantime, I will post this letter on my website, as is my practice when dealing with Tay Valley Township.
Scott Reid, MP
Cost of Judy Farrell Integrity Commissioner report
Cost of Judy Farrell appeal (so far)
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