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.

You can post your comments below:

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  1. I would like to commend the”CORNWALL FREE NEWS” for their outstanding coverage on this topic, regarding Coun. Rivette !
    It would appear, at least to a large part, that this situation was created because the CFN has & was covering City Hall like no one ever has ? Digging & digging & asking the tough questions. And, in the process a few feathers were ruffled. If my assumption is incorrect and that I’m all wet, then please let me know ?
    Being a taxpayer, I like to know where our tax dollars are going & to be honest, I’m not at all happy with the direction that I see this Council going, except Coun. Rivette.
    “CFN” please continue your great effort, the “clique” has already started the feel the heat .

  2. What can Cornwall voters do now to reverse 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? If the Mayor steps down or cannot fill his duties for the remainder of the term what can the Cornwall voters do to insure Mr. MacDonald, who received the next largest share of the vote, is offered the position?

  3. Author

    I think the only thing they can do is voice their concerns to council by contacting council at or by posting comments in topics like this. Some of them won’t admit it, but most of them that can read and operate a computer read here 🙂

  4. I too thank the Free News for it’s good work. It makes me proud today to know that Councillor Rivette’s signs have been on my front lawn during recent elections. Bravo Andre!

  5. I don’t like present mayor so sure as hell don’t want any of his clique,Mark deserves to be Mayor should Kilger not be able to fullfill any more of his duties!!!

  6. I hope an apology is brought forward by the mayor and those councillors who stepped out of line.

    If you can not respect the professional decision of an unbiased investigator then you will never respect any opinion that does not side with your own!

    The issue wasn’t that council should or could not discuss Mr. Rivette’s comments. It was that it was brought to discussion while in a closed door meeting about another topic.

    This action was extremely unprofessional and disrespectful to Mr.Rivette and obviously those in the meeting feel they have absolute power!

    Choosing to alienate and pick a fight with the only true investigative journalist who thrives on ousting the bluntly ignorant was clearly a huge MISTAKE.

    Remember the hidden agendas, abuse of power and flat out lies come election time!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  7. Throw some water on the clerk and see what happens. Reptilianssssss! 420

  8. The City Clerk is abusive no matter where she is, she treats staff at City Hall like trash and does the same in Council to people who do not suck up the the click. Mr. Rivette thank you for all you do, thank you for standing up for us tax payers, we would be in an even worse situation without your desire to be honest.

  9. The problem of democracy at municipal level in Canadian’s big cities (apart from Toronto) is that the result of council elections has long been a foregone conclusion. This is because no individual councilor has a sufficiently high profile that voters really know who they are voting for, or the likely consequences of voting for one candidate or another. Many votes in local elections are cast based on party allegiance but the concentration of Liberal support within the big cities (and Conservative support outside) returns a council of the same political hue on every occasion. Absent any real contest for political power the council becomes prey to capture by anonymous political insiders who can indulge their own interests, pet projects and personal agendas safe in the knowledge that their party are going to win the next election anyway.
    The great advantage of elections for a mayor is that he/she will have the high personal profile that individual councilors can never achieve. People will start to vote for the individual rather than the party weakening the de-facto one party rule that is the reality of local government across so much of Canada. The mayor will know that the next election is not a foregone conclusion; that the result will depend upon the consequences of the decisions he/she makes while in office. The self-indulgent seeker of power without accountability will lose their hiding place in local government and be forced either to seek new hiding holes (Parliament?) or to do something useful with their lives. This can only be good for the quality of local governance in Cornwall – Canada.

  10. A piece of meat is being SEARED on the BBQ! Yummy!
    Nice to see that something is cooking, and it’s thanks to CFN.

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