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Sudbury considers implementing city hall's first integrity commissioner
Watchdog would be advise councillors on potential conflicts with municipal code of conduct
Oct. 26, 2017
Casey Stranges

Sudbury may be soon establishing its first integrity commissioner.

Kristen Newman, the city's deputy solicitor, told council Tuesday night that the clerk's office is preparing a report on the watchdog role, and will present it in January.

Integrity commissioners are independent of council, investigating allegations of conflict of interest, or any contravention of the municipal code of conduct, as laid out in the Municipal Act of 2001.

"This will provide an opportunity for the public to make complaints where they believe there has been a contravention of the the Code of Conduct," Newman said. "It's intended to be directed towards making municipalities more transparent and accessible."

Other large Ontario municipalities — like Vaughan and Ottawa— already have an integrity commissioner. In the north, the township of Killarney, West Nipissing, Kirkland Lake and Manitouwadge make use of one.

Sudbury has maintained a "wrongdoing hotline," which allows people to contact the city if they suspect any fraud or theft by city employees. The complaints are investigated by a third-party, or fall to the Chief Administrative Officer, the Auditor General, or the City's General Manager, depending on the complaint.

The unsuccessful history of Sudbury's integrity commissioner

This isn't the first time the topic has come up at city hall.

In 2014, council voted down the motion to establish a commissioner.

In 2013, then-councillor Terry Kett said the role might be used by lobby groups to further erode morale at city hall. Marianne Matichuck, Sudbury's mayor from 2010-14, was perceived by some to have connections to the Greater Sudbury Taxpayers Association.

"To bring in another opportunity for the Greater Sudbury Taxpayers Association and people like that to throw more stones ... I can't handle that any more," Kett said.

Newman said the report is expected to be presented to council in January 2018.