Anonymous comment in part:
The present Town Solicitor, in his report of December 6, 2011, states: "Despite the absence of a lawyer in the Town's employ to oversee the required work, no permission was granted to retain external legal counsel at that time for this matter. However, the Town's General Municipal/Litigation Law Clerk, was directed to provide on-going advice with respect to this matter and draft the required agreements."
I am unable to accept the implications of this part of the report of December 6th 2011. The solicitor was not part of the town's Executive Leadership Team at the time, therefore he had to rely on information provided to him for the statement.
Council permission was not sought to retain external legal counsel therefore it is difficult to imagine how it might have been granted ..
The Chief Administrative Officer has authority to spend $50,000
if and when circumstances warrant.
A roster of external legal firms was previously approved by Council to be used if and when necessary.
Three members of the Executive Leadership Team would or should have participated in preparing the legal agreement:
The CAO in his overall responsibility for protecting the interest of the municipality.
The Chief Financial Advisor in his responsibility for proper use and disbursement of tax revenues. .
The Director of Environment and Infrastructure in his responsibility for lease of a town facility.
The Director of Leisure Services provided input as to cost to operate the facility That's where the figure of $343,000 initial grant
came from. No estimate of revenues was requested.
"The Town's General Municipal/Litigation Law Clerk, was directed to provide on-going advice with respect to this matter and draft the required agreements." .
The Culture Centre Board had retained a solicitor to represent their interest. Fees were paid with town funds.
The Mayor herself had never before shown any reluctance before and frequently retained legal counsel for whatever objective she perceived was necessary without first obtaining authority from Council.
That the Town's Executive Leadership Team would not recognize the need for the town to be represented by legal counsel simply beggars belief.
Even more embarrassing is the statement that responsibility for a seriously flawed agreement lay at the feet of a law clerk in the legal department.
Those are my first thoughts.