Council takes heat over ombudsman firing
Sudbury council opts to oust Ontario Ombudsman, despite flip-flop by some councillors
Posted: Feb 27, 2013 8:40 AM ET
Last Updated: Feb 27, 2013 3:25 PM ET
In the face of heckling from dozens of angry residents Tuesday night, Sudbury city council re-affirmed its decision to fire the Ontario Ombudsman — but not before some councillors changed their minds on the controversial closed-door meeting investigator.
The confrontation between politicians and the public was a face-to-face version of what's been happening on the phone and by email since council first voted on the matter two weeks ago.
City councillor Fabio Belli wanted that decision undone.
"I'm fully responsible for my actions. I'm sorry, because at the end of the day it was a mistake that I made,” he said.
Other councillors also changed their minds after initally voting to replace Ombudsman Andre Marin with investigators from a private firm.
"I wouldn't call it flip-flopping. I'd call it a rewind,” Coun. Joe Cimino said. "I say we keep him in place and see where we go from here."
But the majority did call it flip-flopping and refused to do it. They voted 9-to-4 to dump the Ombudsman, who they repeatedly called "unprofessional."Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk voted to keep the Ontario Ombudsman as council's overseer of closed door meetings. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)
Controversy ‘has got legs’
Mayor Marianne Matichuk once again supported the Ombudsman.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, she said she believes this will become an issue in the municipal election next fall.
"I think this has got legs. I think this is bigger actually than Elton John,” she said, referring to a scandal that saw councillors jumping the queue and scooping up tickets for a concert held locally in March of 2008 by the famous musician.
“I've never seen that many people calling my office, emails. [I’ve] never seen that."
Belli, Cimino and Coun. Doug Craig were the three who changed their vote from two weeks ago and supported bringing back the Ombudsman.
Private firm Amberley Gavel is now the closed door meeting investigator for Greater Sudbury.
Coun, Jacques Barbeau, who voted to ditch Marin, spoke of the “abuse" he's been getting from residents and about how negative the community seems to have become.
"If you fell out of a freaking spaceship and you landed in Sudbury and you read one of the media, boy you'd want to get the hell out of here in a hurry,” Barbeau said. “And that's not the true picture."
After the vote, dozens of people in the audience grumbled as they left the council chambers. One person shouted: “See you in 2014” as a reminder of the next municipal election race.
Latest Sudbury News Headlines
- Manager of collapsed Ontario mall admits lying to tenants
- The inquiry into the deadly collapse of the roof at Algo Centre mall in Elliot Lake, Ont., hears about altered documents and questionable repairs to the structure in the years leading up to the June 2012 tragedy. more »
- Hudak disappointed NDP supporting Liberal budget
- The leader of the Progressive Conservatives says he's disappointed the NDP have decided to support the Liberal budget. more »
- Sudbury Red Cross needs help
- The forest fire season is just around the corner and the Canadian Red Cross in Sudbury says it is preparing for what may come. more »
- 20K trees to be planted at old Sudbury mine site
- The City of Greater Sudbury is ready for another season of tree planting — and this year it is getting a significant boost. more »
Top News Headlines
- How was the Mike Duffy report 'whitewashed?'
- Opposition parties pushed the government on Thursday to answer questions about the "whitewashed" Duffy report while the RCMP is also seeking more information from the Senate as part of its review of questionable expenses. more »
- 2nd suspect in Tim Bosma murder case to plead not guilty
- The lawyer for Mark Smich says the Oakville, Ont., resident will plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma, the Hamilton man who disappeared earlier this month after taking two men on a test drive of his truck. more »
- SNC-Lavalin letter says Gadhafi son offered VP post: RCMP
- SNC-Lavalin's ties to Libya's former dictatorship ran so deep the company offered the son of Moammar Gadhafi a six-figure job as a vice president in 2008, according to a newly unsealed RCMP affidavit. more »
- Canada Post campaigns against 'no flyers' mailbox signs
- Canada Post has been mailing more than 900,000 letters across the country to people to try to convince them to remove "no flyer" signs from their mailboxes. more »