The Ombudsman found that the Town did not contravene the Act’s open meeting requirements in closing these meetings to the public. However, the Town contravened section 239(4)(a) of the Act on September 13 and November 16, 2021 by failing to state by resolution the general nature of the matters to be considered in camera. The Town also contravened the requirements of section 239(7) of the Act by failing to keep a record of what occurred in camera on November 8 and November 16, 2021.
Read the full report here.
Then-Clerk Valerie Critchley’s response to concerns about in camera minutes were posted on March 4, 2022 in this post: Lack of In-camera Information = Lack of Transparency?
Posted on June 29, 2018 Ombudsman: Council And Joint Police Advisory Committee Wrong To Discuss RFP In Camera
Posted on January 6, 2012 Ombudsman Posts ‘Behind Closed Doors’ Report
A Report into some Town of Amherstburg meetings can be read in full here.
The Ombudsman has issued its Report into complaints about meetings of council and the Joint Police Advisory Committee for the Town of Amherstburg in 2017 and 2018.
The Ombudsman’s opinion included:
At the time of these meetings, there was no exception that would have allowed council or the JPAC to hold these discussions in closed session.
The JPAC violated the town’s Local Boards/Committees – Terms of Reference when it discussed the police costing RFP in closed session on June 1, June 22, July 6 and December 7, 2017. Failing to comply with these terms of reference was wrong under s. 21(1)(d) of the Ombudsman Act. The discussion about the request for proposals did not fit within the “security of the property” exception or any of the exceptions provided in the Local Boards/Committees – Terms of Reference.
Council for the Town of Amherstburg contravened the Municipal Act when it discussed the police costing RFP in closed session on July 10, 2017.
Bill 8 will allow his office to investigate complaints about municipalities, universities and school boards for the first time.
Read the full Ombudsman Ontario Press Release.
The Ombudsman Ontario, Ontario’s Watchdog, posted its report, which confirmed that the council for the Town of Amherstburg repeatedly contravened the Municipal Act and its own procedure by-law. Council discussed issues in closed session that were not permitted under the exceptions to the Municipal Act, and also routinely engaged in improper voting behind closed doors. Read the full report.
Voting during a closed session, including informal votes such as “straw polls” or “show of hands”, is not permitted. Council therefore contravened the Municipal Act by voting during the February 10, 2011 closed session. Read the letter to Ms. Brenda Percy, Clerk, who was requested to make copies of it available to the public.