CORNWALL, Ontario - Mayor Bob Kilger said Monday he disagrees with suggestions that city council is neglecting the Municipal Act when it comes to convening private sessions.
In an interview Kilger said he does "not share the assessments" former city councillor Leslie O'Shaghunessy described in a long-winded statement issued Monday, specifically allegations surrounding the Municipal Act.
In the statement, O'Shaughnessy, among other things, suggests council was not following the Municipal Act during in-camera sessions held in late 2011.
"We have had a substantial number of closed-door meetings," said Kilger. "But that's not indicative of anything other than we've had more human resources issues to deal with than the previous term" of council.
The former councillor has argued there was a lack of administrative reports to council on subjects related to in-camera topics - which he felt left council without a "paper trail" of support for decision-making.
Kilger suggested there have been areas where council has addressed specific concerns O'Shaughnessy has raised in his statement, including the issue of administrative reports.
"Very early on in our mandate that was something Leslie indicated was a concern to him," said Kilger. "We agreed we needed to improve our processes.
"Certainly we are making some very real progress in that area."
His sentiments were echoed by many members of council, who suggested while O'Shaughnessy is entitled to his opinion, they don't necessarily share it as well.
"I'm very confident we're taking the proper steps to ensure accountability at this time," said Coun. David Murphy of council's in-camera protocols. "We follow the Municipal Act guidelines.
"I'm okay with the decisions I've made and I'm confident council is too because we are attempting to move forward."
Coun. Denis Thibault was of a like mind, and argued city councillors make decisions, in-camera or otherwise, based on information they are provided with from outside experts.
O'Shaughnessy made a specific suggestion city hall may have been mispresented by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
"We're lay people," said Thibault. "We listen to the voice of the experts and we take the best advice.
"His opinion is an opinion...and some of what he says was right."
Thibault agrees with O'Shaughnessy in that the city agreed to plead guilty in its case concerning retaliation against a city whistleblower which cost taxpayers a $15,000 fine in 2011.
"It was going to cost us less money instead of bringing this to court," said Thibault. "How do you decide to make these decisions? You listen to the advice of those professionals."