NATION SPORTS DOME ISSUE
A resident of The Nation Municipality has filed complaints with the provincial Ombudsman and privacy commissioner’s offices about council’s handling of the proposed Limoges sports dome project, including an allegation that council violated provincial regulations restricting its approval on financial matters during a municipal election year.
David Mushing issued a press release to regional media this week alleging that members of The Nation council have mishandled the proposed Limoges sports dome matter, including not being “transparent” with the general public and taxpayers about a possible $250,000 out-of-court settlement to Saint Joseph Properties Ltd., the contractor hired for the project.
“I have grave concerns about how this project has transpired,” Mushing stated. “The secretive nature of council throughout the entire process, conducting most of the procurement process behind closed session provisions of the Municipal At, in my opinion, represents a serious failure in transparency of government.”
Mushing also alleges that members of the previous council violated the provincial government’s “lame duck” restrictions on financial approvals imposed on council during the period leading up to a civic election. The alleged violation concerns approval of $253,838.35 to the municipality’s solicitor, SKS Law LLP and the cheque invoice according to the accounts payable summary was marked as “10-19 SPORT D”. The approval was done in October prior to the municipal election date.
Mushing noted that the 2018 municipal budget allocates $50,000 for legal expenses. Any other expenses would require council approval. But, Mushing noted, the $250,000 payment approved in October took place during the “lame duck” period when there is a $50,000 limit on any financial approvals the existing council can make. The restriction continues until the new council is sworn in the following November.
Mushing has made several requests to the mayor and council members and to the municipal office for explanations about the cheque approval which he believes was an out-of-court settlement to the contractor over the sports dome project.
He has also asked for details of the municipal bid process for the project. Some of those requests were filed under the provincial Freedom of Information and Privacy regulations. Mushing stated all his requests were refused with the reason given that they fell under the Ontario Municipal Act section concerning disclosure of in camera items. Mushing, who was a candidate for
The Nation council in last October's elec- - tion, has now filed complaints to both the provincial Ombudsman’s office and to the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner.
The Ombudsman office notified him that it is doing two separate investigations of his complaint, one regarding The Nation council use of in camera meetings, and the other for dealing with issues related to the sports dome project process.
Mayor François St-Amour declined comment on the subject when contacted Monday, January 7.
He confirmed that the municipality has notified the privacy commissioner about the situation and also said Mushing is entitled to file a complaint with the Ombudsman if he wishes.
David Mushing a soulevé des préoccupations au sujet de la gestion, par le conseil de la Nation, du projet de dôme sportif proposé pour le village de Limoges. Une des questions est de savoir si les membres du conseil précédent ont violé les restrictions sur la période« canard boiteux », qui s’appliquent au conseil municipal en campagne électorale. Il a déposé des demandes d’enquête auprès des bureaux de l’ombudsman de l’Ontario et du commissaire à l’information et à la protection de la vie privée de l’Ontario. Le maire François St-Amour a décliné tout commentaire à ce sujet, se contentant de dire que la municipalité a avisé le commissaire à la protection de la vie privée de l’affaire.