Former CAO John Brown Has Questions About April 30th Judicial Inquiry Staff Report

Former Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Collingwood, John Brown, inserted himself back into discussion of the Judicial Inquiry underway into the sale of 50 percent of Collus to Power Stream in 2012.

He did so by submitting a list of questions for Collingwood Town Council to consider at its April 30th regular meeting.

At that meeting, Council received a letter from Brown that contained a long list of questions Brown thought council should receive answers to before considering receiving Staff Report CAO T2018-06.

At that meeting, Collingwood Council voted in favour to receive Staff Report T2018-06 identifying the costs and requirements of the judicial inquiry into the sale of 50 percent of Collus to Power Stream in 2012 and delegate authority to the current CAO, Fareed Amin, to take and authorize any actions deemed necessary or appropriate including actions as required by the Justice presiding over the Inquiry, and further that a record of all actions shall be maintained.

Mayor Sandra Cooper along with Councillors Bob Madigan, Kathy Jeffery, Mike Edwards, Cam Ecclestone and Deb Doherty voted in favour to receive the report. Councillors Tim Fryer and Kevin Lloyd voted against.

T2018-06 Judicial Inquiry (Report added by addendum)

Recommendation amended by addendum:

THAT Council receive Staff Report T2018-06, identifying the costs and requirements of the judicial inquiry and delegate authority to the CAO to take and authorize any actions deemed necessary or appropriate including actions as required by the Justice presiding over the Inquiry; and further that a record of all actions shall be maintained.

In his submission, Brown stated that there are other questions arising from the Staff Report, saying answers to his questions are in his opinion considered necessary in the interests of informed council decision making, openness in governance , accountability and transparency.

Brown asked why the report had been submitted for council approval when not all members of council were able to attend?

“During my tenure as CAO the Clerk kept a record of all upcoming council member vacation plans and items of political sensitivity, such as the report this report , were always arranged for meeting when all members of council would be in attendance. Why not this one?”

Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson was absent from the April 30th meeting.

At the regular meeting of Council on Monday February 26th when Council voted in favour of moving forward with a judicial inquiry to investigate events surrounding the initial sale of 50 per cent of Collus to PowerStream, Councillors Kevin Lloyd and Mike Edwards were absent.

Brown questioned if Town of Collingwood lawyers had been consulted.

“Why does the report have extensive legal content from the City Solicitor of Mississauga and none from the Towns lawyers? Have the Town’s lawyers been consulted and if so , what was their advice? If not , why?”

Brown questioned the credibility of financial figures quoted in the staff report. He said the report repeated a number of times the fact that the costs of a judicial inquiry are difficult to estimate.

‘’It is very difficult to estimate the potential costs of an inquiry due to the unknowns that will impact the hearing length , any potential delays in receiving documents and materials, unknown forensic audit and investigative needs, determination of the parties and witnesses , the potential for legal challenges and many other issues that can arise ‘’

Brown even questioned why the staff report was being considered in the first place.

“As Council has already dealt with this issue, and approved it, why is a further series of recommended approvals being sought and ,in particular, for the Terms of Reference ? Have any changes been made to the council approvals and if so,what ?”

Brown’s letter was not discussed around the table and there has been no public response to his questions and/or comments.

CLICK HERE to read Mr. Brown’s letter to council



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