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Mayor cracks down on appointments to private boards

Acting on a resolution drafted by Mayor Christian Provenzano, City Council voted last night to halt, at least for the time being, any appointments to private or share capital boards.
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Acting on a resolution drafted by Mayor Christian Provenzano, City Council voted last night to halt, at least for the time being, any appointments to private or share capital boards.

No mention was made at last night's council meeting of the recent revelatiion that Chief Administrative Officer Joe Fratesi (shown) was secretly appointed by City Council one year ago as the city's representative on the Algoma Medicinal Alliance, a for-profit marijuana grow-op.

Developer Amit Sofer, who wanted to put the grow-op at the PUC's C.J. Murphy Service Centre on Second Line East, announced late last month that he was no longer interested in proceeeding with the project.

Last night, councillors voted to make no further appointments or endorsements to private or share capital boards until a thorough review of the city's appointments process is done.

They also agreed that, until a new appointments policy is approved, all appointments to boards and committees will be made at open meetings.

Mayor Provenzano pushed for the policy review, arguing that the city's appointments policy is 33 years old.

"In my opinion, it was sorely antiquated," the mayor said. "When you look at how other municipalities are making their appointments to boards and committees, they're making them in open council meetings."

"I don't think there's any harm done in making our appointments to open council. I don't agree that it will be silent and that nothing will be said.... I don't think you necessarily need to speak against people, but I think you often can speak in favour of people."
 
"I'm more than comfortable expressing any opinions that I have on any individuals or their abilities or their qualifications for a job publicly. And frankly, I'm more comfortable doing it publicly," Provenzano said.
 
"It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to hold those types of discussions in caucus," said Ward 6 Councillor Ross Romano. "I think they ought to be done on the record, publicly.... It keeps us accountable and transparent."
 
Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Shoemaker advised last night's meeting that Hamilton, Sudbury, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Peterbough and London all make appointments to boards and committees at open meetings.
 
Council agreed to strike a committee made up of two city councillors and City Clerk Malcolm White.
 
The comittee will review best practices used in other municipalities, redrafting Sault Ste. Marie's policy accordingly.
 
Councillors Shoemaker and Romano were selected to serve on the committee.
 
The following is the full text of the resolution passed by City Council last night:
 
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Mover : Councillor R. Romano
Seconder : Councillor J. Krmpotich
 
Whereas the policy that governs City Council appointments to boards and committees (A-III-1) is dated November 1, 1982 and has not been updated since; and
 
Whereas the policy specifically prescribes and requires that City Council will make the appointments to boards and committees in closed session; and
 
Whereas the policy is silent on whether City Council could or should make appointments or endorsements to share capital corporation boards or any boards and committees that are otherwise private operations or enterprises; and
 
Whereas the current policy is outdated and does not ensure that City Council makes its appointments openly and transparently; and
 
Whereas it is good practice to update City Council policy and procedure regularly in order to ensure that City Council is employing best practices;
 
Now therefore be it resolved that: 
 
1) A Committee be struck consisting of two city councillors and the city clerk to review the appointments policy, research current and best practices as used by other municipalities and redraft the policy in accord with those current and best practices for City Council’s consideration and approval; and
 
2) That the committee ensure that the policy brought to City Council for review and approval proposes an open and transparent boards and committee appointment process; and
 
3) That the committee ensure that the policy brought to City Council for review and approval canvasses and outlines the scope of City Council’s authority to make appointments to boards and committees including appointments to or endorsements of directors to share capital corporation boards or any boards and committees that are otherwise private operations or enterprises; and
 
4) In the meantime, and while City Council awaits the provision of the policy for its review and approval, any appointments to boards and committees made by Council shall be made in an open Council session;
 
5) In the meantime, and while City Council awaits the provision of the policy for its review and approval, no appointments or endorsements to private or share capital boards shall be made by Council.
 
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(PHOTO: File photograph of Chief Administrative Officer Joe Fratesi.)

 



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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans six decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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