As we downloaded this Monday’s Council Information Package (CIP) from the Town of Midland’s website we noticed something new. A highlighted disclaimer of sorts, added to the top of the CIP package. That seemed to offer a clue to something we have been watching for some time now and suspected was going to emerge at some point. Our next stop was the agenda for this Monday’s council meeting where we see an in-camera agenda that contains a few items including “Potential Litigation – Notice of Pending Action Subsection 2e) Litigation or potential litigation”.
This may very well connect to a story we covered a couple weeks ago where Councillor Pat File spoke, rather ambiguously about the need for civility in the OPP costing process and a “chilling effect” that she saw forming around critique and opinions from town staff or citizens weighing in on the debate.
Then, watching the next meeting we see Councillor File speak more pointedly to the CAO about some kind of letter or publication that may have placed the town in some kind of legal jeopardy for publishing slander. She references some legal opinions drawing that same conclusion in her past terms surrounding similar circumstances (which we have yet to firmly connect to any one of the MANY issues they faced)
While we have tried to tie some loose threads together to get more details about where this came from and where it might lead, it seems that the town may be heading towards litigation, and while this is only an assumption, these all may be related. The in-camera meeting, which is called for in legal matters and those surrounding human resources and potential sales of land etc will be closed to public scrutiny, so we are left to beat the bushes for more details about this issue. The sudden appearance of this disclaimer (below) seems to indicate that the town is trying to deflect some kind of liability.
The disclaimer reads “The Town of Midland does not adopt or condone anything said in correspondence or communications provided to it or its Council, and does not warrant the accuracy of statements made in such correspondence or communications. The Town believes it has a duty to ensure that its proceedings and deliberations are transparent, and that it foster public debate on issues of concern. One of the steps it takes to carry out this duty is to, wherever possible, make the material in its Council Information Packages available on its website.”
If our hunch is right and we will continue to follow this closely to get more details, then the town may have published something in a previous CIP that has landed them in some hot water. We don’t see that new disclaimer in the agenda, so one can assume the CIP was involved. A quick review of past CIP packages does not offer any clues thusfar and nor do any agendas we can see online. We automatically download and archive copies as soon as they are published (the source of much news) so we will have to review them to see if we have missed anything. There is some kind of story here and this article is soliciting the input from our followers and readers, who have proven quite right time and time again.
Legal challenges at town hall are never in the taxpayer’s best interests and have been the subject of much scorn from groups like MidlandCommunity.ca and some of our contributing authors over the past couple years. Taxpayers always lose.
We will continue this story as verifiable facts become available. For now, we know that there is some legal trouble brewing and the timely appearance of something akin to a legal disclaimer may be nothing more than a coincidence?