Dispute with city council makes Marin’s top 10 stories list
And fittingly, the ombudsman released his Top 10 list on Twitter, the social media website that caused resentment among some city councillors in 2012.
His No. 5 ranking was related to Marin’s first annual report on enforcing open meeting rules among municipal councils.
“Sudbury singled out as the least cooperative since 1975,” Marin tweeted. “Hoping 4 a better 2013.”
Marin’s investigators came to Sudbury last spring to look into closed-door meetings held in late 2011. While clearing councillors of wrongdoing, the ombudsman criticized them for not co-operating with his office. Ten councillors refused to be interviewed because they weren’t allowed to have the city solicitor present while they’re being questioned.
Some councillors also took offence to Marin’s tweets about the Sudbury investigation.
“Long time since Elton John,” Marin tweeted in June.
It was in reference to the 2008 investigation of the Elton John ticket scandal that rocked the previous mayor and council in 2008. A member of the public complained that councillors met in private to discuss whether to return the dozens of tickets they bought before they went on sale to the public.
Council was also cleared in that investigation, but Marin was critical of them and said they came dangerously close to breaking the rules. He threatened to fine or jail them if they didn’t co-operate with future investigations.
Marin addressed city councillors earlier this month in an unsuccessful attempt to clear the air. He fended off accusations that he was embarrassing councillors with his tweets.
When challenged by Ward 11 Coun. Terry Kett about the Elton John tweet, Marin said it was not meant to be insulting.
“Can you articulate how you find it disparaging?” he asked Kett.
“You are saying that something bad happened with Elton John, right?” Kett responded.
“No,” Marin said. “I’m saying that Elton John was the last investigation conducted here. You were cleared in Elton John. Council was cleared. How does that imply anything else?”
An exasperated Kett threw up his hands and said, “OK. I give up. There’s no use.”
Other events to make Marin’s Top 10 list include: national and international recognition of his office by his peers; the successful training program his office offers that is considered “the gold standard training” for watchdogs; a 27-per-cent increase in the number of complaints his office received in 2012; the investigation of post-traumatic stress disorder among OPP officers; and, at No. 1, is the commitment by outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty to expand the jurisdiction of the office to include the MUSH sector – hospitals, school boards and other public sector boards.
See the whole list and a link to a video on the ombudsman’s year in review at www.ombudsman.on.ca.