The closed door activities of Fort Erie Town Council need to be “cleaned up,” and Mayor Doug Martin has called for an investigation by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
“There have been serious breaches of ethical and moral issues that have confounded my integrity,” Martin said at Monday night’s council meeting.
“There are things going on behind closed doors that in my opinion are just not right.”
Martin said he will ask the minister to appoint an integrity commissioner or a ministry supervisor to investigate the procedures of Fort Erie’s numerous closed sessions to ensure they are appropriate.
“None of us are serving the better good of constituents of the Town of Fort Erie until this gets cleaned up,” he said.
The mayor also announced that he will not attend any closed sessions until his request is answered.
“Procedures [of closed door meetings] were never intended to provide sanctuary to politicians from public scrutiny and accountability,” he said.
Closed door sessions are intended to protect the privacy of individuals and the integrity of contract tender procedures, Martin said. “Not an opportunity to wreak havoc upon staff, to plot and plan strategies that would not otherwise be allowed in open session or to use Town resources to pursue those strategies and to do so with apparent impunity.”
Martin made his announcement as yet another closed door session had been scheduled. The purpose was to discuss “potential conduct violations by a member of council.”
Specifically, the purpose was to discuss Martin’s public remarks about the decision of councillors Bob Steckley, John Hill, Paul Collard and Don Lubberts to refuse to hire the acting-CAO Ron Tripp to fill the post that has been vacant since August 2011.