An OIPCBC Related Question
Find below some communications with the City on a matter related to the OIPCBC action regarding to the authority by which the legal firm representing the City was contracted and how much is being spent on this matter.
On May 9, 2015, at 4:21 PM, Ron Bolin wrote:
Mayor McKay and Councillors:
As you may or may not be aware I am currently involved in an FOI/OIPCBC
action with the City regarding the redaction of public City records -in this
case the redaction of a portion of a video segment from a Council meeting
recording. After circa 8 months in process, I received the submission from
the City’s legal representative in the matter last Thursday. I have now
published the covering documents and some related emails on my blog, while
considerable substantive documentation waits for my review. I trust that
the pages noted below are sufficient to demonstrate my concern.
I would like to determine Council’s involvement in instituting this action
and providing public funds for it -or others like it- as I understand there
are at least two other such actions currently under way. If Council was not
involved, under what authority did this action proceed?
Thank you for your prompt attention.
From: Mayor Bill McKay
Sent: Saturday, May 09, 2015 6:13 PM
To: Ron Bolin
Subject: Re: Authorization of Legal Representation
Mr Bolin, have you published personal information of City employees despite
being requested otherwise?
Have you sought competent legal advice? You may want to consider doing so.
Sent from my iPhone
On May 9, 2015, at 7:39 PM, Ron Bolin <email@example.com wrote:
If you examined the post which was sent to you, you will realize that I have
not posted any personal information of City employees at this time. As you
have pointed out, the matter of non publication was presented to me as a
request. If you wish to demand a ban on publication, I believe that there
are methods of obtaining such. And if this is the City’s intention, I do
not understand why this was not obtained prior.
I do consider that your email has posed a threat and will treat it
I remain bewildered by the money and energy which the City are devoting to a
matter which basically involves the reading, by yourself, then a Councillor,
of a notice of motion into the video record of a Council meeting and its
subsequent redaction from that public record. I remind you that upon
request at that time, you provided a copy of that Notice of Motion to me.
This was already published back in August of last year.
On May 9, 2015 at 7:44 PM, Mayor Bill McKay wrote:
Ron, no intention to imply a threat. This is a very complicated issue and hope you have considered protecting yourself with competent legal advice.
Sent from my iPhone
On May 9, 2015 at 7:44 PM, Terry Hartley wrote:
The Mayor has asked me to reply to your email. I will do so on Monday when I have access to the file.
On May 11, 2015 at 1:17 PM Terry Hartley wrote:
Good Morning, Mr. Bolin.
The City has budgeted for legal expenditures which are approved by Council as part of the Financial Plan. These funds are expended by staff as necessary to retain legal counsel to provide general legal advice and to defend the City against actions. Actions filed against the City include those relating to union grievances, bylaw challenges, zoning & development issues and administrative matters.
In this particular case, you have requested a review of a decision of the City to the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for BC (an administrative tribunal which will issue a binding order). A determination had been made that a portion of a Council meeting video needed to be redacted for the protection of the City. We believe it is mandatory under FOIP legislation that this information not be released. It is your continued pursuit of the release of this information that is requiring the City to expend these funds.
In response to yours of May 11, 2015, at 11:17 AM, I wish to note the following:
I am perplexed as to why the City’s response did not come from either the City Manager or the Legislative Services Officer, both of which would appear from the Community Charter to be tasked with dealing with matters such as this.
I find it hard to believe that City Council has so far abdicated its responsibilities for policy and procedure as to knowingly hand over to Staff for independent and apparently unmonitored action a political problem which arose out of what seems to have been an in-camera decision by a previous Council to redact a public record. I would go so far as to opine that under the Community Charter Council may not have the right to do so, i.e. to turn over areas of its primary responsibility to Staff.
To suggest that I have led to the expenses associated with the actions which Staff has taken in this matter seems to be a case of the accused blaming the accuser for daring to raise the question.
While I look forward to the judgement of the adjudicator, I remain at a loss to determine what the City has to gain by trying to hide a horse that has long since left the barn.
It is to be hoped that Council will review the policy position you have put forward which, it seems to me, could be seen as a case of letting Staff guard the policy hen house without oversight. How many other citizens find themselves facing legal threats from the City of which Council is not aware? And how much has been spent on such actions? Where is Council’s oversight?
Thanks for Your Consideration.