Councilor Rivette Complaints Stick as Cornwall City Council Deemed to Have Acted Improperly – April 20, 2012

Councilor Rivette Complaints Stick as Cornwall City Council Deemed to Have Acted Improperly – April 20, 2012

CFN –  You have to give CAO Paul Fitzpatrick kudos for timing.   Having been on sick leave now he’s missed the final budget mess in Cornwall that saw a 2% increase or roughly $1.4 Million dollars.  He’s vacationing in Hawaii according to an inside source from city hall.

About the number that City Councilor Andre Rivette mentioned in his interview with CFN which led to an investigation by Stephen Fournier.  An Investigation that has vindicated Councilor Rivette and admonished the council for gang banging the veteran councilor for having given this interview.

We’re including much of the text of the report because the Standard Free Holder other local media tend to not report items which include CFN (Cornwall Free News) in them.

We reached Councilor Rivette who was in Toronto attending a conference for comment:

I feel good and am happy with the results.  I think this sends a message that council needs to be more transparent and was really happy to see Mr. Fournier state that in camera meetings be more indicated to the public and that council stick to the subject during the meetings.

From the Report:

Here is the nitty and gritty of how this report came to be:

1. On February 27, 2012, Councillor Rivette received a call from the Mayor’s secretary, Ms Diane Brown, indicating the Mayor wished to meet with Councillor  Rivette at 2:30 pm that same day. Councillor Rivette advised Ms. Brown that he could meet with the Mayor later in the day around 4:15 pm.;

2. At 4:00 pm on February 27, 2012 Councillor Rivette attended the council chambers at city hall and was advised by the Mayor that he could not meet with Councillor Rivette since he had just returned from Toronto. At that time Councillor Rivette was not given any indication regarding the matter or the reason for the meeting requested by the Mayor;


3. At the council meeting held later in the day on February 27, 2012 council convened an in camera session. The agenda for the closed meeting was subsequently amended to add a verbal report by the Mayor on personnel- HR issues;


4. The matter raised by the Mayor in the closed session stems from a video interview conducted with Councillor Rivette by the Cornwall Free News (CFN) that was posted for public viewing on YouTube prior to February 27, 2012.   Councillor Rivette states he was taken by surprise- in fact “blind- sided”- when  the subject video interview was played on a large screen during the closed
session without any prior warning or consultation with him. He further adds that some members of council were allowed to personally attack his integrity during the discussions that ensued ;


5. On March 1, 2012, Councillor Rivette expressed his concerns over the lack of consultation with him and the personal attacks attributed to some councilors  during the closed meeting sessions on February 27, 2012 in correspondence addressed to the Mayor, Bob Kilger. In a reply dated March 2, 2012, Mayor Kilger states the interview with CFN was not the issue; but rather the issue centered on comments directed by Councillor Rivette towards an ‘identifiable individual’ during the course of the video interview that prompted the action to bring the 3 matter forward to an in camera session of council. In addition Mayor Kilger invited Councillor Rivette to contact him, should he wish to discuss the matter further. Councillor Rivette chose to file a written complaint under the closed meeting procedures set out in the Municipal Act and the city’s procedural by- law.

6. In summary, Councillor Rivette believes the discussions on the matter held in camera, which occurred prior to and following the open session of the council meeting, do not qualify as an item for consideration in a closed meeting of council under the Act. Consequently, it is his position that the city acted improperly when the matter was brought forward to the in camera session of the
council meeting held on February 27, 2012.

Investigative Procedure:

The video interview conducted by CFN with Councillor Rivette and the draft record of the minutes of the ‘In- Camera Committee of Council meeting held on February 27,  2012 were reviewed in conjunction with the information set out in the complaint form
and the city’s procedural by- law. Private interviews with Mayor Kilger, Councillor Rivette and the City Clerk were conducted at city hall on March 21, 2012. Additional private interviews with two (2) other members of city council were conducted over the
telephone on March 29, 2012.


A second private interview was held by telephone with the City Clerk on April 10, 2012.  The CFN video interview, the information set out in the complaint form, the closed meeting procedures described in the city’s procedural by- law, the draft closed meeting
record and the information gathered through the private interviews serve as the basis for the findings set out in this report.

Summary of Findings, Conclusions and Recommendat ions:
The key findings, conclusions and recommendations with respect to this request for an investigation follow below:

1. The action by council to add Item #4 under the heading- Personnel IssuesMayors Verbal Report technically qualifies as an exception to the requirement of  an open meeting under sub-section 239.2(b) of the Act. Specifically, a council’s  consideration of the conduct, performance, or behavior of its chief administrative officer is a matter that is addressed through the human resource policies and procedures of the city and normally would fall within the exception pertaining to “personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local  board employees”. Reference to this particular exception is found in the general resolution to move in camera for this particular item that was added to the  agenda for the closed session in accordance with the city’s procedures. In part council acted properly by considering the matter relating to the conduct of its CAO during the closed meetings held on February 27, 2012.

2. The evidence indicates the discussions that took place in the in camera sessions on this matter extended beyond the consideration of the conduct or role of the  City CAO in the personnel issues, which initially was cited as the reason for adding this matter to the in camera agenda.


The discussion that ensued regarding the video interview by Councillor Rivette with CFN, while arguably linked to the comments made about the city CAO, moved during the course of the in camera sessions to include discussions on the conduct or actions of  Councillor Rivette. From a strictly procedural perspective the conduct or actions  of the latter individual per se were never identified or cited as, or part of, the reason when the in camera agenda was amended.


Moreover, if a breach of confidentiality is alleged, the conduct of a member of council regarding matters that have been previously considered in closed meetings is governed by the provisions of section 7.9 Code of Ethic Confidentiality in the city’s procedural bylaw (By- Law 2010-093). It is concluded that council acted improperly, in part, when its consideration of the matter moved from discussions on the conduct of  the City CAO to include discussions regarding the conduct of Councillor Rivette  without specifically citing his conduct as the reason for an exception under  Section 239 of the Act, or invoking the provisions of By- Law 2010-093.


It is recommended that the chair, or presiding officer of a meeting that is closed to the 8 public exercise due diligence and take all proper steps to ensure council’s  consideration of a matter remains centered on the topic (i.e., the cited reason) for the whole duration of the matter under consideration.

So ladies and gentlemen what we have is a councilor who was frustrated with the shenanigans of the not only the CAO, but most likely elected officials who were protecting him getting bullied and gang banged in an in camera meeting.

The questions right now are many.    The answers may be played out at the April 23 council meeting.  Will the Mayor and Council issue  an apology to Councilor Rivette?

Will the CAO and Clerk be held accountable ?    Will those councilors who abused Mr. Rivette, notably Councilor Thibault, be held accountable?

While this report is an indictment against the Gong Show that this council has become, it has no teeth.   No penalties or punishment can be vetted out via Mr. Fournier’s office.

It should never be a crime to read CFN or be interviewed by yours truly.   Hopefully Cornwall Ontario city council have learned that lesson and maybe, just maybe, residents will start to hold the mayor and council accountable for what’s been going on since the last Municipal election.

There are huge issues like the slippery slope that the Waterfront committee is playing with and of course the new Procedural by-law that allows council to virtually circumvent the voice of the public by appointing replacements to council or the Mayor’s chair.

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