Letter to the Editor – Municipal Taxpayers Beware!

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myAlgoma received the following letter to the editor, dated June 13, 2020, from Mr. James Brown from Iroguois falls:

“Municipal taxpayers beware of the Municipal Integrity Commissioner (MIC)!  Elliot Lake has learned the hard way and has paid $374,631 over the last two years, with more expected.  This on top of an estimated $150,000, or more, of Town Administrative time, much for poorly and ill written legislation by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MMA).

In municipal terms that’s a new grader, a tandem truck and a few utility vehicles.  Huge expenses and huge mis-expenditures!   I’m sure this retirement community, with cash budgeted retiree’s and taxpayers, didn’t move there to witness these abusive loopholes of Provincial mismanagement, sad oversight and poorly drafted policy.

To cloud matters, a local Municipal Integrity Commissioner, class themselves a ‘not for profit association’, what-ever that is?  A law firm owns it with one of the partners spouse, an accountant, as partner of their MIC group.  Apparently they represent 55 Municipalities, with some 35 + Municipal issues on the go in North Eastern Ontario.

In our community, that law firm represents our Town on various matters, now their Municipal Integrity Commissioner group investigating our Town Council, who hired them both.  Could this be a conflict of interest?  How independent and objective the inquiry and outcome …really?  To confuse matters more, when the investigation is complete, and MIC recommendations are made to Mayor and Council who adjudicate the outcome, and themselves.  They are in fact their own judge, jury and executioner of the final judgement.  What a farce!  Penalties, as witnessed elsewhere, are sadly amusing with many outcomes fruitless and meaningless, yet very costly to the taxpayer.

What a mish mash piece of legislation, policy and oversight by Municipal Affairs.  To add insult to injury, they reject amending this ill legislation and policy, yet put the onus on you, to seek advice from the Law Society of Ontario and reach out to the Ontario Ombudsman.  Let the little guy drown in bureaucratic BS and Municipal Affairs deflections.

As well, they choose limp neutrality versus factual and decisive decision-making.  There are no teeth and no bite with Municipal Affairs, the Municipal Act, and nothing representing any form of legitimacy in the Municipal Integrity Commissioner legislation.  What do you these people actually do, besides devising and driving poor legislation while advising you to seek your own legal advice!

Sadly, across the province Lawyers have infiltrated the ranks of the Municipal Integrity Commissioner roles.  Apparently designed by lawyers for lawyers.  So you know what that means, they are deeper entrenched, deeper costs and the little guy, as taxpayers, pays the piper, without input, whether you like it or not.

Internal squabbles and finger pointing by Councillors, vengeful municipal bureaucrats, and the public can rack up inquiries and expenses in a municipal free-for-all spending spree.  It’s not their money, while the act and regulation totally lacks any resemblance of accountability.

Mr. Minister & MMA, time to clean up much needed legislation, clean up your department Municipal oversight role, and quit putting the onus on everyone else to do your jobs!  Tighten… the ship and rules!  Make your legislation and yourselves legitimate … if that’s at all possible!”

Jim Brown – Taxpayer
Iroquois Falls

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