Ombudsman: Council And Joint Police Advisory Committee Wrong To Discuss RFP In Camera

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. 

Ombudsman Posts ‘Behind Closed Doors’ Report

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.

Ombudsman Review Of Closed Meeting

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.