Accountability and Transperancy

Municipalities are created by the Province of Ontario to be responsible and accountable governments with respect to matters within their jurisdiction and each Municipality is given powers and duties under the Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c.25 (the “Act”) and many other Acts for the purpose of providing good government with respect to those matters

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is committed to the principles of Accountability and Transparency in its governance, operations, and activities. As part of this commitment, Council has enacted the  Town’s Procedural By-law, to ensure that meetings of Council transpire in an open and accessible manner that allows members of the public opportunities to participate in the local decision-making process.

The Municipal Act, 2001 (the Act) requires that all municipalities adopt and maintain a policy with respect to the manner in which the municipality will try to ensure that it is accountable to the public for its actions, and the manner in which the municipality will try to ensure that its actions are transparent to the public. The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance for the delivery of the municipality’s activities and services in accordance with the principles as outline herein. This policy has been developed in accordance with the Act to comply with Section 270.

Accountability – The principle that the municipality will be responsible to the public for decisions made and policies implemented, as well as its actions or inactions.

Transparency – The principle that the municipality actively encourages and fosters public participation and openness in its decision making processes. Additionally, transparency means that the municipality’s decision making process is open and clear to the public.

Policy Statement; The Council of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville acknowledges that it is responsible to provide good government for the public in an accountable and transparent manner by:

  1. · Encouraging public access and participation to ensure that decision making is responsive to the needs of its constituents and receptive to their opinions; · Delivering high quality services to our citizens; and
  2. Promoting the efficient use of public resources.

TOWN OF WHITCHURCH-STOUFFVILLE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE NO. 59;

Accountability, transparency and openness are standards of good government that enhance public trust. They are achieved through the municipality adopting measures ensuring, to the best of its ability, that all activities and services are undertaken utilizing a process that is open and accessible to the public. In addition, wherever possible, the municipality will engage the public throughout its decision-making process which will be open, visible and transparent to the public.

Accountability – The principle that the municipality will be responsible to the public for decisions made and policies implemented, as well as its actions or inactions.

Transparency – The principle that the municipality actively encourages and fosters public participation and openness in its decision-making processes. Additionally, transparency means that the municipality’s decision-making process is open and clear to the public.

What went wrong in the last 4 years,

May 19, 2020, Ian Lovatt as Mayor leads Council and staff to a Closed-Door Meeting to discuss the lease of the Clock Tower Court Yard to the new owner, described as “a friend of the Mayor”, of 6343 Main Street for a “large seasonal patio on Town Property”

Motion to staff to proceed as directed, Moved by Councillor Sherban, seconded by Councillor Bartley

June 17, 2020 an order to Town Staff that, “Given the peculiarities and political nature of this file, we are requesting a one week turn around for comments”. Council and staff knew that it may have political consequences.

July 2020, Information on the request was leaked to the public, Mayor Ian Lovatt contacted residents to find out who leaked the information to the public. Investigation was started by the company “Investigation Solutions Network” to find out who leaked the information.

November 2020, an Investigation by the Legal team of Aired & Berlis was started to find out the legalities of the original Closed Door Meeting.

March 2, 2021 the finding of the Aired and Berlis Investigation is presented to Council. https://whitchurch.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/147704/?preview=150274&attachmenturl=%2FFileStorage%2F2FECE48ABCD5477D82442310DDE44030-CS-003-21%252520Attachment%2525201.pdf

Conclusion Of the Investigation: Based on the foregoing, we conclude that Council contravened the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Procedure By-law by its conduct of the Meeting in two respects. We have determined that Council:

• was not permitted to discuss the Matter in closed session pursuant to clause 239(2)(c) at the Meeting; and

• did not provide a sufficient “report out” after closed session in accordance with Section 5.7 e) at the Meeting.

Item was not pulled for discussion by any member of Council. No apology. No considerations for public review.

April 6, 2021, Mayor Lovatt leads Council and Staff to a Closed Door Meeting to discuss the sale of the Bethesda Sports Field to a developer.

April 18, 2021, Investigation into the legalities of holding a Closed Door meeting to discuss the sale of the Bethesda Sports Field was started.

June 15, 2022, the results of the investigation are published. https://whitchurch.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/158366/?preview=162945&attachmenturl=%2FFileStorage%2F6F91C63D5CDD40BA9CAB01E02AADF4CD-CAO-006-22%252520Attachment%2525201.pdf

Conclusion Of the Investigation: “Council’s failure to report out anything related to the matter, we have determined that Council did not comply with the reporting out requirement of the Procedural Bylaw. We have noted that discretion is provided to Council pursuant to Section 5(5.7) e) but the complete absence of any mention of the matter being considered in the Meeting left the public entirely in the dark as to whether Council even met to consider the matter”.

Two instances that shows that Mayor and members of Council did not comply with either the Ontario Municipal Act and /or the Procedural bylaw 59.

Do we want another 4 years with a Mayor that has kept his own agenda, kept secret from the residents of Whitchurch-Stouffville, and has ignored the very policies that are to govern Municipal Governments.

We need a more accountable Mayor to lead our Town. One that is not deep in controversy, has the experience to govern and has the personal experience of how municipal planning and procedures are carried forth.

I have the integrity to do what is right for the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, to work hard to make sure this Town plans for all, well into the future. We need to start now, before it is too late.

Vote Mark Carroll 4 Mayor, for a “Different kind of Better”

Previous/Next Article