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County set to appoint its first Integrity Commissioner

Posted November 8, 2017

Simcoe County council is expected to offer Principles Integrity a five-year contract to serve as the upper tier's first Integrity Commissioner effective January 1, 2018.

The integrity commissioner is responsible for dealing with the application of the code of conduct and of any procedures, rules and policies of the municipality governing the ethical behaviour of members of council and local boards.

Principles Integrity is operated by its two principals Jeffrey Abrams and Janice Atwood-Petkovski. Mr. Abrams was called to the bar in 1985, was Clerk of the City of Vaughan, and Ms. Atwood-Petkovsk, called to the Bar in 1987, was City Solicitor for the City of Hamilton. Each have practiced as municipal lawyers and governance experts, and currently provide IC services to the City of Mississauga, Kingston and Puslinch.

For the County's purposes, the arrangement provides the opportunity for any of its 16 member municipalities to utilize Principles Integrity at an annual retainer rate of $1,000, plus fees for training and investigations.

"The total financial implications of appointing an Integrity Commissioner are generally unknown as the volume of complaints that would potentially fall under the jurisdiction of an IC have not been previously tracked," according to the report to County councillors on next Tuesday's agenda. "The proposed 2018 Clerk's Department budget contains nominal funds to cover the annual retainer; it will be unknown if the budgeted $25,000 will be adequate to cover all retainers, consultative and investigative fees. There will be an annual report from the Integrity Commissioner, and staff will report further should the IC service levels outpace the proposed budget."

New Tecumseth's IC is John Mascarin, of Aird &Berlis LLP, whose current term runs through to March 2019, at an hourly rate of $645 when his services are required.

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri