One symptom is an addiction to secrecy. Another is that the council that is being complained about, gets to decide who investigates the issue.
André Marin, Ontario Ombudsman explains in Ontario municipal councils “addicted” to secrecy, ombudsman says:
“There is, in my view, a putrefactive decay in democracy at the municipal government level due to the insistence on officials to continue conducting city business secretly and illegally,” Marin told a Queen’s Park press council.
Marin said not only are there no consequences in the law for holding secret meetings, he accuses the province of enabling the practice by not introducing penalties. And he added that municipalities that don’t like him sticking his nose into their business can opt out of his jurisdiction.
And the result of this “putrefactive decay in democracy”?
“Meanwhile, hanky-panky continues to take place in the backrooms, and councils are continuing to cling to cloak-and-dagger old-school boardroom politics,” he told reporters.
And when a complaint is lodged does council “shop” the investigation to someone or call on the Ombudsman to investigate?
Of the 444 municipalities in the province, only 191 have agreed to ombudsman oversight. Sudbury dropped out after Marin took council there to task publicly for secret meetings.
Solution: Springwater Township and County of Simcoe politicians must have the Ontario Ombudsman investigate: no one else.