Township pays over $1,800 to investigate complaint about council procedures

A single complaint lodged against Wellington North Township council will end up costing taxpayers over $1,800 now that the bill is in.

Earlier this year, Wellington North was the first municipality in Wellington County to undergo an investigation by Norm Gamble, the meeting investigator for most municipalities in the county.

That investigation was started earlier this year in response to a complaint lodged by Kris Svela, of the Mount Forest Con­federate.

The complaint arose from closed door discussions in April 2008 with the municipality of Southgate and in May 2008 with the municipality of West Grey – both regarding fringe development and financing for the Mount Forest Sportsplex.

The report was given to council on July 14, and came just several months after council appointed Gamble as its meeting investigator.

While Gamble concluded the gathering of council was “de­void of proper procedure” his decision resulted in little more than a soft talking to.

“The argument and evidence of those interviewed con­vinces us that there was no intent to neither move in camera improperly nor do anything improper to the provisions of the Municipal Act,” Gamble said.

“If they’d followed procedure, the record would show the meeting went behind closed doors [and why].”

He said the investigation showed that, “While they didn’t come clean in terms of procedure, in terms of owning up to what happened, they were very good.”

That full story remains posted on the Wellington Ad­vertiser website at www.­ – filed in Vol 41, Issue 29.

Gamble’s report stated, “As there was a strong consensus of opinion with no conflicting opinions to the facts, it was felt no further interviews were deemed necessary.”

Based on Gamble’s hourly wage – that would have been more than a costly venture.

Over the course of six days be­tween June 2 and July 14, Gamble accrued four hours of investigation of the complaint at a rate of $350 per hour. In addition, mileage claimed was $408, plus two meals totalling $32.94.

The final bill to the township came in at $1,840.

Councillor Dan Yake seem­ed surprised at the bill, stating he thought Gamble was hired there either on a retainer or flat fee.

Clerk Lori Heinbuch said the bill is whatever it costs to get the job done, and that there is still the hourly rate.