Re: “Council members demand apology,” NRT May 23.
I rarely agree with Larry Dumoulin, particularly with regard to matters relating to firefighters, but the judgement rendered on his dispute concerning the conflict of interest issue was shameful.
Lorne Sossin, the town’s acting integrity commissioner, acknowledged there was no dispute of the facts, but appeared to make no reference to them in arriving at anything that resembled a reasoned decision.
I’ve been waiting to see how this issue would be addressed because possible corruption resulting from something like conflict of interest is a serious matter.
Sossin should know that because he himself ended up in his role when two previous high profile lawyers recused themselves because of thin links to AECL, not like Jason McAuley who, in his position of power, has been making decisions that directly affect the company to whom he depends on for his livelihood.
Sossin’s first cop-out was in saying that only a judge can determine whether any member of council violated the MCIA.
Despite this, it was that very Municipal Act that the two previous lawyers called upon to recuse themselves.
Without making an actual judgement, Sossin could have used the contents of the Act to at least make some attempt at assessing the extent of the wrongdoing in this case.
But he then delivers a final kibosh to the issue in what appears to be a desperate attempt to avoid actually having to do some thinking.
He gets himself off the hook by claiming the Deep River code of conduct does not specifically reference conflicts of interest.
It’s like saying bank robbery is OK if it’s not specifically addressed by a code depicting honest behaviour.
Despite this flawed assessment, the council cheered, and after the back-slappings all around, they turned to Dumoulin and systematically attacked him.
They demanded a public apology. McAuley even threatened a defamation of character lawsuit, claiming ruined friendship and slander to him and his family.
Suck it up, McAuley. You’re a public official. It comes with the territory.
If this had been a court case, the proceedings would be filed under “Kangaroo,” depicting a legitimate judicial authority that intentionally disregards the court’s ethical obligations.
Such proceedings are often held to give the appearance of a fair and just trial, even though the verdict has in reality already been decided before the trial has begun.