CORNWALL, Ontario - A former city councillor will broke his self-imposed silence Monday, and took direct aim at what he feels are deliberate attempts to keep the public misinformed on key issues regarding municipal accountability.
Leslie O'Shaughnessy, who resigned his seat at the council table nearly a year ago, issued a statement Monday that slammed city hall.
Among other things, O'Shaughnessy suggested he was lied to while serving as a city councillor, and that information pertinent to political decisions was wilfully withheld.
The litany of accusations runs for three pages, and also centres on a 2011 whistleblowing case where the city was found guilty of retaliating against one of its employees and slapped with a $15,000 fine.
O'Shaughnessy further accused the city of spenidng too much time deliberating issues behind closed doors, and failing to record such dealings via adminstrative reports and the like.
"I felt that I could no longer be accountable for the decisions that were being made during closed-door meetings," O'shaughnessy said of his reason for quitting last year. "Without accountability there cannot be transparency.
"During my tenure on city council, I can show that I was lied to, that I had been mislead on various issues, and that information that was pertinent to the decision-making process was wilfully withheld."
O'Shaughnessy began leaving in-camera meetings at city hall in 2011 when he argues there was a lack of administrative reports being filed to back up decisions being made by council behind closed doors.
"I literally spent more time conducting the people’s business in closed sessions than in meetings that were open to the public," O'Shaughnessy said. "Reports are the lifeline for council because if accountability becomes an issue, there is a paper trail that contains the information that was used to make the decision... without supporting documentation, how can you defend that decision?"
The issues continued throughout 2011, O'Shaughnessy says, suggesting that time at city hall was some of the worst he experienced as a public figure.
"October, November, and December was probably the most disappointing period in my political career," he said.
We have posted the entire statement issued today by O'Shaughnessy. you can view it at: