Oakville Town Council has directed Oakville Hydro Corporation (OHC) to immediately suspend all political donations while deferring its decision on further inquiry into the issue until staff can report back to Council on potential options and costs for such an inquiry. In the interim, Council directed the town’s internal auditor to prepare a report to Council reviewing all payments by OHC to any political party or political candidate, as well as a review of current OHC and industry policies and best practices governing such expenditures by publicly owned corporations. Both reports will come back to Council on January 17, 2011.
“Council has heard the public’s concerns and is committed to providing full disclosure of the amount and purpose of these donations,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “It was a prudent decision to allow staff time to complete an internal review of these donations and to provide Council with more detailed information on which to base its decision on the need to conduct a further inquiry. I am pleased that the public delegations at the meeting all supported Council’s decision to defer this review until January.”
Council waived its normal procedural by-laws to hear debate on motions from Mayor Burton, Councillor Jeff Knoll and Councillor Cathy Duddeck concerning the need to provide the public with full disclosure of OHC policies and practices concerning political donations, including the recently reported participation of OHC at the annual Liberal Heritage Dinner. Councillor Mary Chapin moved the motion to defer a decision until further information could be provided by staff and Council agreed to Councillor Knoll’s request that this report be deferred from Council’s December 20, 2010, meeting until the January 17, 2011, meeting.
“There was a lot of heated rhetoric on this topic over the past week but Council has demonstrated its ability to work together to serve the best interests of the taxpayers of Oakville,” Mayor Burton said. “Due process and informed debate are essential to maintaining public trust in Council and I look forward to our discussions in January.”
Mayor Burton also noted that OHC board took this issue very seriously and already had adopted a policy to prohibit future political donations and begun its own internal investigation. The current board and CEO were not in place in 2008 when the OHC began participating at the premier’s dinner.
Tags: Oakville Hydro