Integrity crisis at Niagara Region

I don’t know how else to frame it anymore.

As the last four years have worn on, it is abundantly clear not only that there is an integrity crisis at Niagara Region, but also that they either don’t recognize it or they don’t care…or both, depending on who we’re speaking about, I suppose.

The latest example, of course, comes to us through this article in which the Regional CAO recommended the hiring of the person who would undertake the investigation into the hiring of the CAO (i.e., himself); hired a person who – by his own admission – “has done “some kind” of investigative work in the past, but has never supervised a search for documents in government servers and has no experience in investigating computer systems.”

Imagine being under investigation for something and being asked to recommend the person who would investigate you….

What the CAO should have done (and been instructed by Council to do) is recuse himself from the process and ask the IT manager, legal director, and/or regional clerk to hire the investigator.

There are so many other examples, beginning with one of the very first decisions of this Council being to remove the Integrity Commissioner. Later in the term, they also voted down a more robust Code of Conduct that would hold them to a higher standard.

We have an integrity crisis at Niagara Region.

The first person who approached me two years ago to ask me to run for Regional Council said this to me: “Laura, the people of Niagara need someone they can vote for who they may not personally agree with but who is above reproach and who they know will make the right decisions.”

That struck me so much that I wrote it down in the front of the notebook I’ve been keeping for this campaign.

Acting with integrity isn’t always easy.

Sometimes, maintaining your own integrity means other people will not like what you say or do, but if we’re not acting with the utmost integrity, what do we have left? Honestly.

My values and integrity guide me. I have to be able to continue to look my children in the eye. I have to be able to look you in the eye if/when you question the decisions I’ve made.

How do we solve the integrity crisis?

I have a few suggestions:

  • On Monday, October 22, 2018, vote only for candidates who you either know for sure are full of integrity or have given you very good reason to believe that they are;
  • Do a search of their name and find out what else they’ve done for the community (and why) outside of politics (here is a lengthy list of all the times my name shows up: Laura in the News);
  • Look at the promises they’ve made (here are mine) and determine both how feasible and how important they are;
  • Look at the information they’re sharing through their campaign and see if they’re just being critical of this term of Council or if they’re also offering solutions; and
  • Talk to them. Most candidates for regional council have listed their contact information with the City Clerk. Call them, e-mail them, engage with them on social media, and/or ask to meet with them.

It’s time to solve the integrity crisis at Niagara Region.

It’s time to Reset the Region.

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