Where’s the “Transparency and Accountability” Sault Ratepayers want to know

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Civic Centre

The following was issued and released by the Sault Ratepayer’s Association

To Mayor, Council and Fellow Ratepayers,

Volunteer organizers of the Sault Association of Ratepayers requested to be placed on the next agenda of the Sault Ste Marie municipal council in order to make a five minute presentation and share information on the topic Part V.1 sections 221.1 to 223.4, Transparency and Accountability of the Ontario Municipal Act 2001 as they pertain to the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

In Part V.1 states; to help ensure integrity and accountability in public office, Part V.1 of the 2001 act sections 223.1 to 223.24, provides that municipalities may pass bylaws to establish:

 

⦁              A code of conduct for council and local board members

⦁              An Integrity Commissioner

⦁              A Municipal Ombudsman

⦁              An Auditor General

⦁              A lobby registry and registrar

We would like to extend our appreciation for the quick action of Mayor and council on addressing the issue relate to the code of conduct and look forward to participating with the soon to be formed committee that will be reviewing its improvement.

Our suggestion is that since the committee has not yet been formed that planning includes the appointment of a minimum of two members of the public to sit on the committee and invite applications through open process advertised on the city web site.

The intent is to increase transparency and open process so that that the committee is not restricted to council and city staff.

We were informed by email that our request to make presentation to council has been denied.

“There is a staff report to Council on the August 22, 2016 Agenda regarding the Code of Conduct Review Committee (appointment of members of Council). You may wish to submit your request to this Committee, which will be making recommendation to Council regarding transparency and accountability measures.”

Our concern is that although action is being taken on only one part of this section and agree to re submit with such a committee, our goal is to remain on discussion towards implementation of by-laws that we MAY have and are clearly stated are possible to have are being stifled with the denial of presentation and only to committee instead of openly in council chambers.

Will this unformed committee be discussing all or parts of the section It appears this as yet un formed committee will only be discussing the code of conduct and paying no attention to the other components of Part V.1 sections 221.1 to 223.4, Transparency and Accountability of the Ontario Municipal Act 2001

To get the best possible results from the discussions and from the soon to be formed committee it is our concern and opinion that the focus will not be maintained on the entire topic that is now before council and community.

It would make sense to deal with all of the components instead of dealing with them piecemeal.

 

Our request was for a short presentation for discussion and enactment of by-laws pertaining to Part V.1 sections 221.1 to 223.4

This still leaves us with the second part of our presentation that has fallen by the wayside and what we filed to speak on in its entirety, Part V.1 sections 221.1 to 223.4, Transparency and Accountability of the Ontario Municipal Act 2001 as they pertain to the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

 

•         Hold public open consultations with our representatives to discuss and implementing by-laws for the other components of Part V.1 of the 2001 Municipal that are not currently in place, to bring Sault Ste Marie up to par with other municipalities under the 2001 Act.

•        Study the proposed changes coming to the Municipal Act and adopt best practices in process and procedures.

The goal from this action remains to bettering the municipal process and achieve parity with other Ontario Municipalities with all the tools allowed that help ensure integrity and accountability in public office as found in Part V.1 of the 2001 act sections 223.1 to 223.24.

To be successful and make improvements all parts and all available information must be under review.

When will we have the discussion on enacting by-laws that the act states we may have and a majority of Ontario municipalities currently do have?

3 COMMENTS

  1. Seems to me that the agenda review committee does not welcome presentations by outside groups, especially if they are addressing topic that might underscore the lack of transparency and accountability of Council. Of course, the agenda committee might have its own agenda… Who knows for sure?

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