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     October 2012        

Released - October 01, 2012 at 2:00 AM EDT
Tag#: 632
An outrageous spending practice found for Labour and Employment matters
Uncovered 196 transactions belonging to 23 accounts

On April 9th 2008 the City Council approved proposals for outside legal services. The report stated: “This report has been reviewed by the Finance Division and the funding source has been identified. The awarding of these contracts has been provided for and is within the limits set in the 2008 budget.”

The report suggested that $897,862 over the three year period, or an average of $299,288 per annum was anticipated to be spent by these Legal Services, which is within the Legal Services annual budget allocation of $344,000 for external legal counsel.

Costs for labour and employment law over the same three year period were anticipated to be no more than $455,597 or $151,865 annually. Human Resources and Organizational Development had an annual budget allocation of $151,865 for external legal counsel.

The City hired “Catalyst Consultants” to evaluate the suitability of the bidders and they were then ranked accordingly. The 5 major areas were identified and 3 year contracts were awarded.


(1) Provincial Offences Court/Prosecutions

(2) Labour and Employment

(3) Ontario Municipal Board Planning matters

(4) Construction Contract and Lien matters

(5) General Litigation and Municipal work

According to the report, the Labour and Employment contract was given to two legal firms to specifically deal with the matters of Human Resources and Organizational Development.

Karen Matthies, the relief Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development was also called in to assist in the evaluation. The evaluation teams agreed that it would be appropriate to split the labour and employment work between two firms, both of whom were ranked highly. They will be referred to as Legal firm “A” and Legal Firm “B”. Legal Firm “A” was to receive approximately 30 to 50 percent of the work and Legal Firm “B” was to receive approximately 50 to 70 percent of the work. The selection committee felt that this would be the most efficient way of proceeding, and to rely upon the greatest strengths of both firms.

To protect the economic interest of the third party, WikiLeaks Sudbury will not disclose the name of the legal firm.

One of the legal firms qualified to provide legal counsel for Labour and Employment matters received

 $ 7,736,649.38 for the 3 year period of 2008, 2009 and 2010 for the services provided to the City.

2008 - Payments: $ 1,357,541.85

2009 - Payments: $ 4,492,678.91

2010 - Payments: $ 1,886,428.62

Over this 3 year period, no more than $455,597 should have been spent by the Labour and Employment matters. On average, $151,865 would have been the maximum annual allocation for this category. However these amounts seem to have been exceeded enormously. It remains a real puzzle to clearly identify for the taxpayers where and why the apparent over spending has occurred. Further investigation is needed.

We have uncovered 196 transactions belonging to 23 accounts.

The City of Greater Sudbury Tax payers have the right to know how their tax dollars were spent for labour and employment matters. Tax payers also have the right to know how legal firms dealing with labour and employment matters were eligible to receive these apparent over payment for their work. This clarification is necessary for transparency and accountability to the public.  

Some of the invoices were marked as invoiced and accounted for on the same day. For example with account #: 69238, an invoice valued at $ 2,022,200.00 was billed on August 20, 2009 and the “accounting date” was marked for that same day.

For complete transparency the public has the right to know exactly what the purpose was for setting up this specific account # 69238.

If account # 69238 is set up to cover only legal advice on labour and employment matters by a single firm that shall remain unnamed at this time, then there should be a limit to these expenses of no more than $455,597 for 3 years or an average $151,865 per year. Yet it is troubling the actual payment on account # 69238 over the 3 year period is
 $ 5,448,600.00  

The public has the right to ask Kevin Fowke, the director of human resources and organizational development with the City, to responsibly identify the details of these expenses.   

What follows below are supporting documentation that outline some of the concern above.   

Categorization by year:

2008 - Payments: Click here for more information  

2009 - Payments: Click here for more information  

2010 - Payments: Click here for more information  

Payments Categorization by accounts for 3 years
2008, 2009, 2010

Summary - Click here for more information  

Categorization by individual accounts:

Account #


Account #



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Related documents:

Request for proposal approved by Council


Released on October 01, 2012 at 2:00 AM EDT

The original article initially published on Journal of Canadian Studies 46 (1), 112-137, 254-255. Excerpts from the article as follows.

Agenda Setting, Policy Learning, Organizational Legacies, Path Dependency, and Beyond

In 2006, the Ontario government amended the Ontario Municipal Act by passing Bill 130, the Municipal Statute Law Amendment Act. Among other things, this legislation required that municipalities adopt a number of mandatory provisions relating to accountability and transparency. Local governments were also asked to consider a number of voluntary measures. This editorial examines how 12 municipal governments in Ontario responded to these mandatory and voluntary legislative requirements. Using primary documents and elite interviews with local government officials, the contributors analyzed the municipal processes and outcomes produced in response to Bill 130. The findings suggest that, in general, Ontario municipalities tended to react negatively to the mandatory and optional policy changes instituted from above. None the less, there was some variation in municipal responses, much of which can be explained by focussing on variations in municipal policy learning, organizational legacies, public input, and to a lesser extent, time and cost restraints.

Although the existing local government literature is rich with descriptions of the provincial-municipal relationship as it pertains to the delivery of programs, fiscal relations, and municipal amalgamation, very little is known about how local governments respond to voluntary and mandatory policy change from above. To partially address these lacunae, we examine the 2006 implementation of Ontario's Bill 130, which saw the provincial government require municipalities to pass accountability and transparency regimes that had both mandatory and voluntary elements. This Ontario legislation emerged from a number of high-profile scandals in Ontario involving MFP Financial, which were reported in the news in the early 2000s. These scandals highlighted what were perceived to be significant deficiencies in local accountability and transparency regimes in the province. In response, the Ontario government amended the Municipal Act in 2006 to force municipalities to design better accountability and transparency regimes. First, municipal governments were required to create and/or update formal accountability and transparency policies in a number of areas and to create a process for investigating closed, in-camera sessions and meetings. Second, local governments were asked to consider a number of optional accountability and transparency measures, such as a code of conduct, a lobbyist registry/registrar, an auditor-general, and an integrity commissioner.

Our analysis relied on a variety of primary documents, such as minutes to various meetings, research reports, and other items in each of the municipalities. We also conducted 14 anonymous interviews with city officials who were involved in the creation of their city's accountability and transparency policies. These interviews took place in the spring and summer of 2010 and were conducted over the phone. Each of the interviewees was given the option to remain anonymous, and each exercised that option.


Our findings suggest that most, but not all, municipalities chose to meet the minimum requirements, while the optional measures were adopted unevenly across our sample. Those that pursued more than the minimum requirements tended to be larger municipalities or had existing policies that were similar to the voluntary ones listed in the legislation. At first glance, these findings may reflect the fact that municipal actors generally are resistant to any provincial "interference" in local decision-making; yet our research suggests that other factors, such as organizational legacies, policy learning, public demand, and to a lesser extent, time and cost restraints, may also matter for determining municipal responses to provincially mandated policy change.


The municipal accountability and transparency legislation introduced in 2006 was driven by a number of factors related to a perception that municipal politics in Ontario lacked openness. A key factor behind this perception was a series of headlining scandals that had cost some municipalities tens of millions of dollars. At the centre of these scandals was MFP Financial, which in the past had provided a variety of technical services to a number of municipalities in Ontario. The most notable of MFP's financial dealings was with the City of Toronto, which commentators argue did not receive the kind of scrutiny it deserved. Among other things, incentives were given to municipal officials and councillors in return for favourable treatment of MFP's financial proposals. The result was millions of dollars in cost overruns.


These specific scandals reinforced pre-existing negative perceptions of municipal transparency, such as those related to the close relationship between certain special interests and municipal officials,   Some recent research on Canadian local election financing MacDermid 2006, 2007; Young and Austin   for instance, has found a high correlation between private support-most notably from the development industry-and electoral success. As a result, many urban centres tend to have councils with a pro-development bias.


Structurally, with respect to access to information requests, municipalities have also traditionally been much slower at producing requested information. They have been criticized for the exorbitant costs of some access requests. Typically, an access to information request at the federal level of government costs only five dollars, which can be seen as a negligible administrative charge. Municipalities will often charge for any copying and other such expenses, however. If a request produces dozens of pages of information that require photocopying, the cost can be quite prohibitive. This ultimately produces a barrier to trying to access information at the municipal level.


In short, a convergence of structural and temporal factors created the conditions for the Ontario government to pursue accountability and transparency reform at the local level in 2006. The primary legislation that governs provincial- municipal relations in Ontario is the Municipal Act. As a general ordinance, the act applies to all municipalities in the province regardless of size (except for Toronto), provides the legal foundation for the creation of municipalities, and outlines what municipalities can and cannot do in terms of the programs and services they can create. The act also provides the guidelines for municipal public administration and therefore is the centrepiece for local accountability and transparency policies.



Alcantara et al.,(2012).  Responding to Policy Change from Above: Municipal Accountability and Transparency Regimes in Ontario.  Journal of Canadian Studies 46 (1), 112-137, 254-255



WikiLeaks Sudbury

October 01, 2012


Related Documents
Responding to Policy Change from Above: Municipal Accountability and Transparency Regimes in Ontario  




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