The Soo hires its first Integrity Commissioner
The City of Sault Ste. Marie is hiring its first ever Integrity Commissioner.
Recently, the code of conduct for Mayor and Council was changed and now allows for public complaints.
Christian Provenzano is the Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie.
"A city councillor would have had to really make a complaint about another city councilor. Now, any member of the public can make a complaint. So, that is a big, big difference." said Provenzano.
In an effort to demonstrate complete transparency, the city has hired a local consulting firm to act as Integrity Commissioner when needed.
"What that does is the city then removes itself, so you don't have the Mayor or City Council self-policing. We take the matter and send it to the Integrity Commissioner. The Integrity Commissioner takes the complaint, looks at the code of conduct, does whatever interviews they need to assess the situation, and then they will produce a report." said Provenzano.
When used, the Integrity Commissioner will be paid $205 an hour.
The Mayor admits this could become very pricy for the city, if people file complaints for no good reason.
"Let's hope people don't do that. Let's hope people don't use the process to maybe exercise, as you have referred to them as, vendettas. Let's hope complaints have some sort of merit or substance to them." said Provenzano.
Around the city, people's reactions were mixed on the need for this new role.
"New Integrity Commissioner? I think it's a great idea. I think it's a totally fair idea to have a third party to be able to review, because you can't really be reviewing yourself."
"It’s stupid, stupidity. They should know their own integrity. The mayor is a lawyer; he should know what they have to do."
"I think it's good for transparency as far as the city is concerned."
City officials say by this time next year, all municipalities must have an Integrity Commissioner in place, whether it's full time or on retainer.