Lawyer clears D’An­gelo hir­ing process

Marvin Hu­ber­man didn’t have ac­cess to key dig­i­tal doc­u­ment

The Welland Tribune - - Front Page - GRANT LAFLECHE

The lawyer hired to in­ves­ti­gate the 2016 hir­ing of Car­men D’An­gelo as Ni­a­gara Re­gion’s chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer has found the process was not done im­prop­erly.

How­ever, Marvin Hu­ber­man of the Toronto law Firm ADR Cham­bers, told re­gional coun­cil Thurs­day that if he had ac­cess to sources and a key dig­i­tal doc­u­ment used by The Stan­dard in an April ex­pose that found D’An­gelo ob­tained con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion about other can­di­dates for the job, the con­clu­sions in his 43-page re­port may have been dif­fer­ent.

“I wish I had ac­cess to ev­ery sin­gle piece of in­for­ma­tion that’s miss­ing in this piece, but un­for­tu­nately we don’t,” Hu­ber­man said. “And part of the prob­lem is there are peo­ple ap­par­ently that are sources of this in­for­ma­tion that ap­par­ently know who sent it to who and when and so on and so forth, but they are in­sist­ing on re­main­ing anony­mous and none of the doc­u­men­ta­tion they pur­port to have has been pro­duced even by the news­pa­per. There is noth­ing else we can do.”

In his pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil Hu­ber­man said he could not use The Stan­dard’s re­port­ing as ev­i­dence be­cause a news re­port is legally con­sid­ered hearsay rather than di­rect ev­i­dence.

Hu­ber­man did ac­cept D’An­gelo’s state­ment that he did not re­ceive the memo but that his rec­ol­lec­tion is im­pre­cise.

D’An­gelo told Hu­ber­man he was busy with the Ni­a­gara-on­the-Lake re­cruit­ing process in Septem­ber 2016 and then his phone was stolen so he can­not check his emails from that pe­riod. Hu­ber­man said com­mon sense sug­gests D’An­gelo’s an­swers were “im­prob­a­ble” but he could not find they were not cred­i­ble or un­re­li­able be­cause they were con­sis­tent with other state­ments by him.

“I am there­fore hes­i­tant to de­value Car­men D’An­gelo’s state­ments based on per­ceived in­con­sis­ten­cies or sus­pi­cion alone,” Hu­ber­man wrote.

Hu­ber­man’s re­port says the memo that out­lined the bi­ogra­phies of five can­di­dates for the $230,000 a year job was writ­ten by Robert D’Am­boise, the pol­icy di­rec­tor for Re­gional Chair Alan Caslin, at Caslin’s be­hest. The lawyer fur­ther con­cluded the memo was not sent to D’An­gelo.

How­ever, Hu­ber­man told coun­cil­lors he only had knowl­edge of a pa­per copy of the memo, and did not have ac­cess to the dig­i­tal ver­sion that was at the heart of the Stan­dard’s months-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The elec­tronic doc­u­ment, ob­tained by The Stan­dard, con­tains dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion show­ing it was cre­ated by D’Am­boise. Other dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion ob­tained by The Stan­dard shows D’An­gelo had the memo in Septem­ber 2016, nearly a month be­fore in­ter­views were con­ducted.

Can­di­date in­for­ma­tion is to be kept con­fi­den­tial and is not shared with those ap­ply­ing for the job to en­sure fair­ness.

The Stan­dard has not es­tab­lished how D’An­gelo ob­tained the memo.

Key sources in The Stan­dard’s ex­pose reached out to Hu­ber­man dur­ing his 30-day in­ves­ti­ga­tion of­fer­ing to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about the CAO hir­ing process on the con­di­tion that Hu­ber­man kept their iden­ti­ties con­fi­den­tial.

Hu­ber­man said he could not make that prom­ise.

Coun­cil voted to ac­cept Hu­ber­man’s rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing hir­ing an ex­ter­nal gov­er­nance au­di­tor and de­velop train­ing so that coun­cil­lors and staff bet­ter un­der­stand their code of con­duct, by-laws and the Mu­nic­i­pal Act.

To read more about this story and the full re­port go on­line to www.stcathari­nes­stan­dard.ca.

BOB TYMCZYSZYN THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Fort Erie coun­cil­lor Sandy An­nun­zi­ata and Port Col­borne coun­cil­lor David Bar­rick talk dur­ing a Ni­a­gara Re­gional coun­cil meet­ing.

BOB TYMCZYSZYN THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Protesters out­side of Ni­a­gara Re­gional Head­quar­ters be­fore a coun­cil meet­ing. Thurs­day.

Toronto lawyer Marvin J. Hu­ber­man gives his pre­sen­ta­tion on the CAO hir­ing process in front of re­gional coun­cil­lors.

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