CORNWALL, Ontario – Mayoral candidate Leslie O’Shaughnessy fired a barrage at incumbent Bob Kilger Wednesday night, suggesting a cloak of secrecy exists at city hall.
O’Shaughnessy, largely out of the public eye in recent days due to a cold, came out swinging at a Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce debate at the civic complex, hammering away again at what he feels are shortcomings concerning Kilger’s leadership.
He accused Kilger of convening in-camera meetings to suit his own political end, specifically a session in 2011.
“By the time I got home Bob Kilger is looking to hold a second meeting because he didn’t like the outcome of the first meeting,” said O’Shaughnessy. “It was just continuous.”
Kilger, though, was having none of it.
“Let it be known that I never lied to Leslie O’Shaughnessy (and) I never mislead council,” he thundered.
O’Shaughnessy further accused the mayor of mismanagement, pointing to an occasion where he left sensitive legal documents in his office when he had been instructed to turn them over to lawyers.
“They sat in your office for two weeks,” said O’Shaughnessy. “In boxes that were open.”
Kilger was once again forced to react and said his interactions with residents, city staff and elected officials is steeped in a solid foundation.
“Let me just suggest anyone who I’ve been associated with…whoever you choose, I will stand by my integrity,” he said.
Kilger also went on the attack, suggesting his eight years in office have seen tax rate increases consistent with, or below, the rate of inflation.
“Council has an enviable record on the taxation story,” he said, adding he wants to continue to helm critical city files like looming negotiations concerning the waterfront and the industrial park where a Loblaws development could bring as many as 400 jobs.
He also attacked a plan by candidate Jamie Gilcig who has advocated using the Cornwall Pubic Library as a home for an arts centre.
Kilger suggested the library needs to be maintained in its current form.
Gilcig was forced on the defensive on several occasions by those in the audience who openly questioned his ability to be objective as mayor given his profile in some circles as a controversial website operator.
The debate was broadcast on TV Cogeco and will repeated Sunday morning at 11 a.m.