staff report

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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. 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.

Township of Russell

November 02, 201502 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell. During the meeting, council received a presentation on township rebranding. The resolution to proceed in camera only provided the title of a confidential staff report and no additional information regarding the subject matter of the report. The Ombudsman found that the resolution provided limited information about the matter to be discussed in camera. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality ensure that resolutions to enter closed session contain a general description of the issue to be discussed, including when referencing confidential reports or materials.

Town of Ajax

March 28, 201428 March 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the General Government Committee for the Town of Ajax that relied on the exception for solicitor-client privilege to discuss a report on a property encroachment issue. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the exception because the report contained no legal advice or privileged information.

City of Greater Sudbury

February 14, 201314 February 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Greater Sudbury to discuss an ongoing appeal before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The meeting was closed under the litigation or potential litigation exception. During the meeting, council received information from staff related to the appeal that might affect the municipality’s response to the appeal. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the litigation or potential litigation exception because council was discussing an ongoing appeal before a tribunal.