As the public are aware, the City was convicted for illegal retaliation against me in October 2011 in relation to resident abuse at the Lodge.
The City Council was then investigating for answers as to why the three members of senior management of the City had participated in illegal retaliation, causing legal defence costs of $200,000 and payment of a fine.
As Mr. Fournier’s report reveals, during the course of Council seeking answers, two whistleblower complaints (one of which was mine) were filed directly to Council. Every aspect of the whistleblower complaints was withheld from the public. Since the public were not notified, the employees of the City were also not made aware.
The decision of City Council to not tell the public anything about the complaints, and to deal in camera with everything about the complaints (including their existence) was entirely discretionary. Total secrecy was not mandatory, as Mr. Fournier has found.
City Council withheld all information from the public. Mr. Fournier has only limited powers of recommendation, but he recommends that Council consider that the public had the right to know or at least receive some form of notice about a whistleblower complaint being under investigation.
The information that is revealed within Mr. Fournier’s report could have been made available to the public, as it was happening. As the reports verify, both whistleblowers asked City Council on July 30, 2012 to amend the whistleblower policy to notify the employees about the investigation and appointment of investigators, and to put witness protection protocols into place, along with staff training. Also in July both Whistleblowers waived the need to keep their identity anonymous so that employees could be notified.
It would have enhanced the investigation process, if the public were aware of the existence of investigations and could supervise Council’s actions. The public could have questioned the powers (or lack thereof) of the investigators, and could have monitored to ensure there were no more allegations of retaliation against these or other employees of the City. If there had been public notification, City employees would have felt the protection of City Council and the public for the purposes of giving their evidence in such difficult circumstances.
This is the second report of Mr. Fournier in relation to closed meetings of Council following the conviction of the City for illegal retaliation in October 2011. Answers pertaining to that conviction have still not been provided to the public by City Council.
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