Integrity in Local Governments: Mitigating the Risks of Conflict of Interest, Fraud & Corruption (Feb 19)

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This conference was just brought to our attention. It is being held Friday, February 19, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at UBC Robson Square. Link to event description. The topics are very close to what we seek at CityHallWatch — integrity and open, transparent, accountable government. Clearly, all players have a role to play, but the role of citizens is crucial for oversight. In that context, we hope that the City of Vancouver’s proposed changes to its FOI Bylaw next week (see Council agenda Feb 23) will attract critical and open review.  To avoid the risk of corruption, Vancouver and other Metro Vancouver municipalities need to take concrete actions. For example, create a lobbyist registry, full time reporting of political gifts and donations, a ban on corporate and unit donations, excellence in FOI practices, whistleblower systems, and more. At the moment, NONE of these are available in Vancouver.

Below we copy the description text about the conference, and also provide links and contents lists to two important papers available online for free, one titled “Integrity in Local Government: Legal Challenges to Local Government Decisions and Best Practices for Decision Makers,” by Nathalie Baker, and the other “Integrity in Local Government: Key Legal Definitions and Cases,” by Maegen Giltrow and Connor Bildfell. CityHallWatch has covered many citizen-initiated legal challenges against the City of Vancouver, so readers may find these two documents to be useful references for any one or group considering a legal action, or trying to understand the system.

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From website: Experts from across B.C. will present this first of a series of professional development days, for local government related professionals, on issues relating to conflict of interest, fraud and corruption.

The International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy [http://icclr.law.ubc.ca/] is bringing together speakers with significant experience in risk management, auditing, municipal governance, law and law enforcement to explore the following essential issues:

what are and are not conflicts of interest, fraud and corruption
– standards of conduct the law requires of staff and elected officials
– issues in local government ethics from the view of an experienced CAO
– what to do in order to best mitigate risks before they happen
– practical methods and tools to help identify issues when they occur
– lessons learnt from real-life examples
– challenges of infrastructure and resource projects
– an overview of tools and practices to respond if any issues occur

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS

Sonia Le Bel; Chief Prosecutor, Charbonneau Commission
Hon. Anne Rowles; Chair of the Board, ICCLR
Maegen Giltrow; Associate Counsel, Lidstone & Company
Nathalie Baker; Associate Counsel,Boughton Law
Jerry Berry; Principal Advisor, Jerry Berry Consultants Inc.
Yvon Dandurand; Associate Professor/Senior Associate, UFV/ ICCLR
Jacklyn Davies; BC Leader, Investigative & Forensic Services, MNP LLP
Mindy Smith; General Manager of Corporate Services, Fort St.John
Dianne Hunter; City Manager, Fort St. John
Heather Avison; Chief Administrative Officer; City of Terrace
Jay Chalke; Ombudsperson, BC
Inspector Trevor Dusterhoft; Investigative Standards and Practices, RCMP
Mayor Richard Walton; District of North Vancouver
Mark Tatchell, Chief Administrative Officer, Village of Tahsis

This one-day conference will interest: 

–   Local mayors, officials, officers, councilors, managers & planners
–   Municipal directors
–   Municipal legal counsel
–   Lawyers practicing municipal law
–   Risk managers
–   Developers and engineers
–   Consultants to local government
–   Financial auditors
–   Law enforcement officials
–   Academics practicing good governance, public policy and local government management / administration
[CityHallWatch would have loved to see “the public” listed here too!]

The conference will also be available by webinar…

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TWO RECOMMENDED REPORTS

Integrity in Local Government: Legal Challenges to Local Government Decisions and Best Practices for Decision Makers
Prepared by Nathalie Baker for the conference. DOWNLOAD PDF HERE. 15 pages.

 

Table of Contents
I. Introduction. 3
II. Mechanisms for Challenging Decisions of Local Governments 4
A. Municipal Legislation 4
B. Judicial Review. 4
1. True Jurisdictional Error 6
2. Unreasonableness 7
3. Procedural Requirements. 10
4. Procedural Fairness 11
III. Risk Management Strategy for Local Governments 14

EXCERPT: From a risk management perspective there is significant value in local governments understanding how and why citizens and business owners seek legal recourse and judicial oversight of local government decision-making. By understanding and managing against conditions that will lead to legal challenge, governments will be effecting the sort of informed internal oversight that has been identified as an important tool to protecting against conflict of interest, fraud, and corruption.

This paper explains the mechanisms by which citizens will challenge decisions that to the public eye may appear arbitrary, made in bad faith, or unreasonable. The premise is that good decision-making has to be good all the way through—lack of transparency, over-delegation without proper oversight, and lack of expertise in oversight can not only lead to unreasonable decisions (that may be overturned on judicial review), but also foster conditions in which illegal conduct may take hold. From a risk management perspective, local governments are well advised to take informed steps to protect against this whole range of legal challenges.

Conflict of interest, fraud, and corruption can be notoriously difficult to detect inside an organization. These papers together approach key areas of vulnerability from different angles:
1) What are the relevant legal standards?
2) What are examples of conduct that has or has not been found to breach these standards?
3) What role does judicial review play in oversight of good decision-making and in protection against conflict of interest, fraud, or corruption?

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Integrity in Local Government: Key Legal Definitions and Cases
Prepared by Maegen Giltrow and Connor Bildfell for the conference. DOWNLOAD PDF HERE.

Table of Contents
I. INTRODUCTION 4
II. DEFINING “CONFLICT OF INTEREST”, “FRAUD”, AND “CORRUPTION” 5
A. CONFLICT OF INTEREST 5
1. Common Law 5
2. Statute 8
3. Academic Commentary . 11
B. FRAUD 12
C. CORRUPTION . 15
II. CONSEQUENCES OF A BREACH 16
A. CONFLICT OF INTEREST 16
1. Pecuniary Conflict of Interest . 17
2. Non-Pecuniary Conflict of Interest 18
3. Conflicts of Interest in Employment Law 18
B. FRAUD 18
C. CORRUPTION . 19
III. SIGNIFICANT CASES AND INQUIRIES DEALING WITH CONFLICT OF INTEREST, FRAUD, CORRUPTION, OR BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY 19
A. CONFLICT OF INTEREST 19
1. Sherwood Inquiry (2014) . 19
2. Magder v Ford (2013) 20
3. Schlenker v Torgrimson (2013) 22
4. Windsor (City) v CUPE, Local 543 (2012) 25
5. Tuchenhagen v Mondoux (2011) 31
6. McCallion Inquiry (2011) . 31
7. Fairbrass v Hansma (2009) 32
8. King v Nanaimo (City) (2001) . 33
9. Toronto (City) and CUPE, Local 79, Re (1996) . 35
10. Save St. Ann’s Academy Coalition v Victoria (City of) (1991). 38
11. Hamilton-Wentworth (Regional Municipality) v CUPE, Local 167 (1978) 39
B. FRAUD 41
1. Directeur des pousuites criminelles et pénales du Québec c Michaud (2015) . 41
2. R v Riesberry (2015) . 43
3. Toronto (City) v CUPE, Local 79 (2003) 45
4. Metropolitan Toronto (Municipality) v CUPE, Local 79 (1992) 46
C. CORRUPTION . 48
1. Charbonneau Commission (2015) . 48
D. BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY IN THE FIRST NATIONS CONTEXT 49
1. Louie v Louie (2015) . 51
2. Annapolis First Nations Band v Toney (2004) . 53
3. Williams v Squamish First Nation (2003) 53
4. Louie v Derrickson (1993) . 54
5. Gilbert v Abbey (1992) 54
6. Leonard v Gottfriedson (1980) 54
Remedies . 55
IV. UNLAWFUL DELEGATION 55
V. APPLICATION IN SMALL COMMUNITIES 58
A. FIRST NATIONS CONTEXT 58
1. Assu v Chickite (1999) 58
B. DECLARATIONS UNDER THE COMMUNITY CHARTER PERMITTING VOTES DESPITE CONFLICT OF INTEREST 61

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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