A Hamilton politician wants to know why it’s taking so long for the city’s integrity commissioner to complete his investigations.
Coun. Lloyd Ferguson, chair of the city’s accountability and transparency subcommittee, says according to the rules, integrity commissioner Earl Basse has 60 days to investigate integrity complaints against city councillors. But that hasn’t been happening.
“It troubles me,” he said after a subcommittee meeting Monday. “You shouldn't have to, as a member of council, be hung out there waiting for a decision. It’s unnerving.”
The city formed the subcommittee in 2007 with two purposes – to establish a lobbyist registry, and to establish an integrity commission. Basse performs his duties part time from his home office in Waterloo.
The city pays him a $1,500 retainer, and then an hourly fee for his investigations, Ferguson said. Basse has two months to investigate but has the option to ask for extensions.
The most recent investigation was related to Mayor Bob Bratina. The mayor exchanged words with city manager Chris Murray at a tense meeting in May. Basse was charged with investigating that, but so far, has not reported back or asked for an extension.
The issue is not in the jurisdiction of the accountability and transparency subcommittee, where it was discussed on Monday. But Ferguson hopes the governance committee picks up the case.
Basse did not return calls on Monday. But he told the Hamilton Spectator that he understood that 60 days was a target, not a deadline.