The Town of Collingwood’s Corporate & Community Services Standing Committee will review a Staff Report (STAFF REPORT #C2018-15) at a special meeting of Council on Thursday, July 12, 2018 in the Council Chambers, Town Hall, Collingwood commencing at 2:00 p.m. The report was submitted by Jennett Mays, Communications Officer, and deals with how communications will be handled throughout the Collingwood Judicial Inquiry.
The purpose of the report is to present Council with options regarding communications during the Judicial Inquiry.
At the February 26th, 2018 meeting, Collingwood Council passed resolution 042-2018 calling for a Judicial Inquiry into the 2012 Collus share sale to PowerStream.
The request for a Judical Inquiry was provided to the Chief Justice of the Superior Court.
On April 6, 2018 Chief Justice Smith appointed the Honourable Mr. Justice Frank Marrocco, Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice to serve as Commissioner to this Inquiry.
The Collingwood Inquiry website has been launched (CollingwoodInquiry.ca).
The Honourable Mr. Justice Frank Marrocco, Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice
The site states that the Associate Chief Justice Marrocco will not give media interviews since he is a sitting judge.
Inquiry Counsel will speak to media on behalf of the Inquiry.
Logistical information is available from Peter Rehak, the Inquiry’s Communications Director and a media room will be setup during the public hearings.
This report was reviewed by Department Heads on July 10, and was recommended to proceed to Council.
Council directed staff to provide options detailing how to handle communications related to the Judicial Inquiry. Mays’ Staff Report provides two options for consideration.
1. Adherence to the Corporate Communications Protocol (RECOMMENDED)
The Corporate Communications Protocol states that questions regarding pending litigation, exposure to litigation, high profile or personnel issues, or emergency situations, must immediately be referred to the CAO, Clerk and Communications Officer.
The Judicial Inquiry is considered a high profile issue, and as such, any questions should be referred to the CAO, along with the Communications Officer and Clerk. This would allow Council to limit or reduce its responsibility regarding communications during the Judicial Inquiry, while still allowing the Town to respond to questions received.
The CAO would be identified as the Town’s spokesperson for all questions related to the Inquiry that are received by the Town. This option would allow for a single point of contact at the Town, and ensure consistent messaging is communicated. Any matters that are unable to be addressed by the CAO would be referred directly to the Inquiry communication staff to respond.
2. Direct all questions to the Commission staff
In other inquiries, this process has been utilized to manage any questions that are received regarding the Inquiry. This option would allow for a single point of contact for all members of the public and the media. Administrative staff with the Inquiry would be able to respond to questions, whether they are from the media or the public.
The Collingwood Inquiry has retained Peter Rehak as its communications contact, and Mr. Rehak has significant experience managing communications for public inquiries.
Staff recommend that Council proceed with Option 1, as it follows the established protocols for dealing with high profile issues.
The matter will be discussed at the July 9th meeting of the Corporate & Community Services Standing Committee before hitting the full Collingwood Council table on Monday July 23rd.
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