Digging for details at North Bay’s city hall
Published Thursday, November 29, 2018 6:35PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 29, 2018 6:46PM EST
Ontario's privacy watchdog is telling the City of North Bay that it must release a confidential document it signed with the former Chief Administrative Officer.
All of this coming after a North Bay man began digging for details in the city's Sunshine List.
Kevin Ferris re-reads the city's Sunshine List from 2016 one more time after he stumbled on something that initially confused him: former CAO Jerry Knox with a different job title, corporate advisor. It’s a position that actually does not exist at city hall.
Knox left the CAO post two years ago, but he remained on the Sunshine List for 2016 and 2017.
Figures show he was paid nearly $204,000 each year.
"It definitely raised some eyebrows and warranted further inquiry." said Ferris.
He questioned North Bay Mayor Al McDonald about the matter.
"He basically said he had no knowledge of this position and had nothing to do with the hiring. So, that's when I filed the Freedom of Information request for any documents and supporting materials surrounding this hiring." said Ferris.
The city fired back at Ferris, telling him it would only provide the employment contract, but not in its entirety.
Ferris appealed the city's move and it moved to mediation.
The province's privacy commissioner then ordered city hall to disclose the full employment agreement it signed with Knox by December 11th.
"We'll comply with whatever the order is. It's being reviewed by our legal services, and we're not part of that process as elected members and we don't comment on legal or personnel matters." said McDonald.
The city also has to produce additional documentation describing the search efforts.
Ferris is pleased with the order, but says there's still not enough transparency at city hall.
"When little guys like us are going up against the big machine, we seem to get shut down all the time." said Ferris.
He says he's looking forward to learning more about the deal the city cut with the former CAO and thinks it's “just the tip of the iceberg.”