Collingwood Council will be asked to review a Staff Report that would green light approvals to allow the Town to move forward with initial steps necessary to fund costs of the Judicial Inquiry into the sale of 50 percent of Collus to Power Stream in 2012 at its next meeting on Monday April 30th.
Staff report #T2018-06, submitted by Fareed Amin, CAO for the Town of Collingwood, and Marjory Leonard, Treasurer, provides potential cost estimates for the Judicial Inquiry and requests approval for the CAO to take the necessary actions and expend the necessary funds to meet the requirements of the Justice presiding over the Inquiry.
RECOMMENDATION THAT Council authorize the CAO to take the necessary actions to ensure that all requirements of the Justice presiding over the Inquiry are met;
THAT the CAO is authorized to engage legal representation for parties, Members of Council and current Town employees who will be called as witnesses at the Inquiry;
THAT funding for the Inquiry be taken from the Working Capital Reserve Fund;
AND FURTHER That Council approve the Terms of Reference as attached.
At the February 26th, 2018 regular meeting of Council, resolution 042-2018 calling for a Judicial Inquiry into the 2012 Collus share sale to PowerStream was passed.
The Honourable Frank N. Marrocco, Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice, was then appointed to serve as Commissioner to the Judicial Inquiry.
Town of Collingwood staff has prepared cost estimates for council to review.
The report states costs of a judicial inquiry are difficult to estimate and rely on the duration of the Inquiry. Town Staff has been provided with a list of potential cost types that the Town may incur during the process.
Town of Collingwood CAO Fareed Amin has had several meetings with Court staff and Justice Marrocco to discuss the requirements of the Justice.
The Town’s costing assumptions are based on a nine (9) month inquiry however, after the documentary phase is complete, Staff will have a better idea of the costs and timelines.
Here are the cost estimates taken from the Staff Report:
1. Commission Counsel
The role of Commission Counsel is to investigate and lead evidence in a thorough, impartial and balanced manner.
From previous inquiries, the presiding Justices have stated that the duty of the Commission Counsel is to ensure that all issues related to the public interest are brought to the Commissioner’s attention.
Justice Marrocco has chosen his Commission Counsel.
Billing rates and the length of the Inquiry will determine the actual expenditures.
There will be two components to the estimate – time for investigative work and time for the hearing phase.
Overall, staff are basing the cost estimate on the results of the Mississauga Inquiry. Estimated investigative work – 320hrs x $500/hr $160,000.
Estimated hearing work – 320hrs x $500/hr $160,000.
2. Investigative Staff/Policy Staff
The Commissioner and the Commission Counsel require a Junior Counsel and a law clerk to assist with summarizing evidence for the Commissioner, pre-interviewing witnesses, summarizing witness statements etc. Staff estimate the cost of a Junior Counsel as
Estimated investigative work – 320hrs x $200/hr $64,000.
Estimated hearing work – 320hrs x $200/hr $64,000.
Estimated cost for a law clerk based on a nine (9) month contract would be 1,560 hrs x $85/hr $132,600.
3. Administration Staff
The Commissioner will require administrative support during the Inquiry. Staff estimate that this position would be required for approximately nine (9) months and would cost $75,000.
4. Additional Staffing Requirements
a) Communications staff will be sourced from an outside firm on an as needed basis. The estimated cost for this service is $70,000.
b) IT staff and assistance will be provided by the Town’s IT department. This assistance is estimated to cost $25,000.
c) Court reporter/transcriptionist to record inquiry proceedings. Staff are estimating the cost of these services on 320 hours hearing time. Rates for this service are estimated at $85/hr for an estimated cost of: $27,200.
There is also a per page charge in the range of $6 per page for transcription services. Assuming the hearings generate 500 pages the cost would be $3,000.
d) Commissioner incidental expenses estimated at $25,000.
5. Physical Resource Requirements
a) Office Space Staff have sourced suitable office space in the downtown core. The minimum term on the lease is one year at $22.50 gross lease rate per sq. ft. The rate includes taxes, insurance and maintenance. Utility costs will be in addition to the lease rate. Minimal redecoration is required. Estimated one year commitment for the space $32,000.
b) Office Furniture Staff estimate the cost to furnish the space at $30,000.
c) Computer Equipment This item includes laptops, printers, servers, cabling, routers, wireless hubs, telephones, conference phone, boardroom TV/HD screen, and other peripherals including software, document management software and virus protection. The estimated cost is $60,000.
d) Office Supplies Staff estimate the cost of office supplies for five (5) workstations at $5,000.
e) Venue(s) for Hearings Through discussions with Justice Marrocco, the CAO feels that the Council Chambers will be satisfactory for the public hearing phase.
f) Security Staff Security staff may be required to escort witnesses to and from the hearings and provide security at the hearings themselves.
Staff estimates this services could be provided by paid duty police officers. The cost estimate is based on Estimated hearing work – 320hrs x $71/hr $22,720.
6. Other Costs
a) Counsel Representing the Town
The role of the Municipality in the Inquiry is to:
• ensure that all information in Town files is made available to the Commissioner;
• ensure that the Commissioner is aware of internal administrative procedures that may be relevant to the Inquiry; and,
• respond to any requests from the Commissioner or the Commission Counsel for assistance.
In previous inquiries the cities all had internal legal departments and staff recommended that outside legal counsel be retained to represent their interests at the public inquiry.
The Town has association with several legal firms that can fulfill this need.
The estimate, based on the Mississauga report is 75% of Commission Counsel $240,000.
b) Counsel for Parties, Council Members and Staff
Legal counsel retained to represent the Town cannot represent the interests of individual employees or Members of Council. The Commissioner cannot order the Town to provide funding however, in order to ensure that all parties, staff and Council Members are treated in a fair and unbiased manner, the Town should consider funding these costs.
Staff can only guess at the potential costs and are assuming these costs would be similar to the costs for Town counsel $240,000
The Staff Report report #T2018-06 was prepared by Town Staff to provide Council and the residents of Collingwood with a background of the purpose of a judicial inquiry and the types of costs and associated estimates that may be encountered.
“The total cost of the Judicial Inquiry, based on the information and requirements of the Commissioner, at this time, is estimated at $1.4-1.6 million. There are sufficient funds in the Working Capital Reserve Fund to cover the items noted in the staff report.”
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