Mayor defends city in letter to counties

Alycia Douglass

Published on March 14, 2017
Mayor Leslie O'Shaughnessy said in a letter to the Counties that he shared their frustrations on the delays to the shared services agreement, but said that the City was not the only one to blame (Nick Seebruch/ TC Media).

CORNWALL, Ontario - Mayor, Leslie O’Shaughnessy recently responded to the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry’s letter to the City of Cornwall regarding shared services. O’Shaughnessy expressed that while sharing their frustration, he does not believe that the City of Cornwall is the sole reason for the stalling of negotiations.

The Counties’ original letter outlines the history of shared services between the municipalities, namely about how City Council has yet to ratify a new agreement, thus prolonging the process.

“We understand the reason that the City has not ratified the agreement is because it is not in agreement with the inclusion of a dispute resolution clause which includes the right of either party to arbitrate if necessary,” reads the letter. “This is frustrating and disappointing to the County, as the right of parties to arbitrate is a universally accepted concept designed to protect the interests of each party in the event that a dispute cannot be settled directly or through mediation.”

In response, the mayor stated that the letter ‘seems to blame the City for further delays.’ At the Counties’ regular meeting on Dec. 16, 2016, a motion was passed to approve in principle a draft Consolidated Municipal Service Management Agreement. However, according to O’Shaughnessy, the City never received a true copy of the document that was passed.

“On the morning of January 17, 2017, I had a meeting with a representative from the Counties in my office where I indicated that we had not received a true copy of the agreement that was passed in principle by Counties Council and we could not move forward until it was reviewed,” reads the mayor’s letter. “Counties staff indicated that we already had a copy in our file. We do not. As you can see, we have done all we can to obtain a true copy of the document you wished us to consider but for some reason, you are not prepared to give it to us.”

The letter reiterates that the city never received a true copy of the motion, having searched email accounts and regular mail registry but to no avail.

“Yet the suggestion is made that the City is stalling. I think not. Further to this, if you have sent the document to us and it was misplaced or accidentally deleted, I would be more than happy to apologize on behalf of the City and if you cannot provide us with the date that you sent notification, I would expect an apology from you for making false allegations against us,” states the mayor.

Despite frustrations, the City of Cornwall continues to recognize the importance of the Counties, and hopes they can work together to resolve current and future obstacles.