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Town of Pelham

April 19, 201819 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Pelham to discuss an external consultant’s report to council regarding municipal financial information and the conduct and performance of a previous employee. While in closed session the treasurer presented information to council about the municipality’s financial status. In most cases, this type of information would not fit within any of the exceptions to the open meeting rules and should be discussed in open session. However, in this case the Ombudsman found that the information provided by the treasurer was sufficiently necessary to fully explore the issues covered by the legal advice and therefore, appropriately discussed in closed session under the solicitor-client privilege exception.

Town of Pelham

April 19, 201819 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Pelham to discuss an external consultant’s report to council regarding municipal financial information. The consultant was retained by the municipality’s lawyers to review and interpret the financial information provided by the town. The Ombudsman found that the consultant acted as a translator, interpreting the financial information and explaining it to the lawyers to allow them to formulate legal advice. While in closed session, the town’s treasurer also presented information about the municipality’s financial status. In most cases, information provided to council by staff about a municipality’s finances would not fit within any of the exceptions to the open meeting rules and should be discussed in open session. However, the Ombudsman found this part of the discussion fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception because the information provided by the treasurer was provided to allow the lawyers to understand the financial information, in order to provide legal advice to the town. Therefore, the Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the solicitor-client privilege exception.

City of Welland

November 18, 201418 November 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Welland to receive a presentation from staff regarding the local development corporation’s strategic plan. The meeting was closed under the education or training exception. The strategic plan had been approved by council at an earlier open meeting. During the closed session, council discussed information relating to the municipality that it considered sensitive. The purpose of the education or training exception is not to shield sensitive information from the public. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the education or training exception because the discussion did not relate solely to educating council, rather it was intended to inform their decision-making and advance the formulation of the municipality’s economic strategy.