Transparent Report from City of Cornwall in Diane Shay Affair perhaps not so transparent? November 17, 2011

Cornwall CAO Paul Fitzpatrick

CFN –   Transparency is a funny thing.  If someone shows you something what they show you is transparent.   Of course what they don’t show you….isn’t.   Today the city of Cornwall Ontario issued a release regarding the Diane Shay case.

However what they didn’t release was the settlement that Ms Shay signed with the city which can well be in excess of many of the numbers reported in the release.

Of course in cases like this the idea isn’t to release the information.  Settlements almost always include a non disclosure agreement.  It’s almost like the term “hush money” and it’s usually to make something go away.

I spoke with Ms Maureen Adams this afternoon at 4:28PM and she confirmed that this agreement exists.  Of course citing confidentiality she couldn’t confirm the amount.

So again, how many of these types of agreements are out there?  How will the City of Cornwall ever get a handle on its tax rates if large chunks of tax payer cash go towards these sorts of agreements.

At some point isn’t it cheaper to simply put people in place that don’t incur such actions or perhaps review the practices of management at city hall that end up putting pressure on Council and the Mayor who are the face to residents as the representatives we elect?

In the interest of transparency, the City of Cornwall is releasing the expenses related to the recent Ontario Human Rights Tribunal decision, the Ministry of Health case and the matter involving Diane Shay.

The full breakdown of costs related to these matters is as follows:

Some of these costs date back to 2009, and the majority of the expenses have been covered in the 2010 and 2011 City budgets. Traditionally, the City budgets $100,000 annually for grievance and arbitration matters.

The City was unable to share the information any sooner as there were still some outstanding invoices to be confirmed and reviewed as late as this week.

The trial dealing with the charges under the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act was originally scheduled for seven trial days beginning in September 2011. Just six business days before the trial was set to begin, the Crown advised the City’s lawyer, John Saunders, that they would be filing a motion with the Court to prohibit Mr. Saunders and Hicks Morley from cross-examining Ms. Shay due to a perceived conflict of interest given her employment with the Human Resources Department and past dealings with Mr. Saunders. This motion and the planned trial would have likely have resulted in additional legal costs of $100,000 to the Corporation to defend the charges. In light of these circumstances, the City decided to plead guilty in this matter.

The matter involving the Human Rights Tribunal has yet to be finalized and further costs may be incurred.

You may post your comments below.

James Moak


  1. Careful with this one Jamie, You have a similiar agreement with Tracey. Do not fall under the old addage the pot calling the kettle black

  2. Author

    No Smee I don’t. Our legal settlement, which was quite public did not involve a non disclosure. She broker her non disclosure as part of her contract. Btw, a major issue on whistle blowing is that many employees today have non disclosures so that the actual act of whistle blowing is a violation of the terms of that persons employment.

  3. These out-of-court settlements have been going on forever. One of the longest running scams ever.
    A citizen is abused, injured, or harmed by a government employee or agent. The citizen sues said government employee, or agent for damages. The government pays off the victim with taxpayers money in a secret out-of-court settlement. The only person punished for the crime is the taxpayer, and the cycle continues.

  4. I have been trying to contact Ms. Shay to ask whether she is willing to participate (anonymously) in research about whistleblowing. I am very interested in her case, because it represents part of the ‘bureaucratic vector’ of the matter. This research is an attempt to do two things: 1) to counter the condemnatory attitude in academic writing about whistleblowers and 2) to discover whether professionals can be taught during their training what it is that motivates such individuals to resist oppression rather than ignore it. I would be happy to hear from Ms. Shay at : 613-476-7706 (home tel.)

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