Monday night means Council night, but not just any ordinary meeting but a “Special Meeting” of Council. The meeting for tomorrow (April 25, 2022) was called to allow more time to digest and discuss a recent “report” from the Ombudsman that was included in last Monday’s agenda.
What The “Report” Is And What It Is Not
The report is actually two separate letters, with the first looking into various allegations raised by and against Members of Council and the second looking into the CAO and his “spring cleaning” of the Finance department last year and the “bad banking” that followed.
But before you dig into the report and start reading it line by line, take note that the Ombudsman didn’t really take a “deep dive” into matters like the Office typically does.
The first letter from the Ombudsman states it was a “preliminary review” of the matters. Also the Ombudsman states that his Office did not conduct “a formal investigation of the concerns raised by council”, so there is no formal findings, just “best practice suggestions” based on allegations not fully examined. The Ombudsman stated his office “spoke with the current Clerk and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) about council’s concerns” only, it does not appear that they even approached Members of Council.
The first letter looks into matters including the dismissal of the Town Manager back in 2019 and the retirement package of the previous Clerk also in 2019. It is rather odd that these matters only seemed to become an issue over a year later, including a “Special Meeting” held at the Peach King Centre on July 13, 2020. That meeting is worthy of a whole other post.
The second letter, not written by the Ombudsman, but a staff member in his Office, “addresses” complaints raised by residents over the dismissal of the Treasurer by the CAO in March 2021, the banking irregularities that resulted and the lack of a Whistleblower policy.
The second letter only “tickles” the complaints, because the Office, based on their review is exercising discretion to not even look at the matters. Despite the refusal, the letter actually goes into detail and interestingly states that the Ombudsman was unable to confirm the CAO’s version of events related to the bank.
The letter also addresses the lack of a Whistleblower policy. While it acknowledges the Town has adopted a policy, it misses the fact that the policy does not appear to be fully implemented yet.
Take a read below and draw your own conclusions:Ombudsman-Report-April-6
Welcome! – Council Chambers Open
Tomorrow night’s (April 25, 2022) meeting starts at 7PM in Council Chambers at Town Hall, the public is welcome and encouraged to attend and view any “Points of Order” in-person. Of course you will have to sit out of the Closed Session, but the Foyer at Town Hall is a great place to talk with fellow residents while waiting to go back in.
Alternately you can view the proceedings on Facebook Live with community commentary or on the Town’s livestream at https://grimsby.ca/livestream with commenting disabled.