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Region to appoint integrity commissioner

Pending council approval, new position will come into effect Jan. 1

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Originally planned to be in place by the fall, Durham Region will have an integrity commissioner for the start of the new year, pending council approval.

In a report set to be presented at Dec. 7’s committee of the whole meeting, a contract with Toronto law firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP is up for approval, with Guy W. Giorno, an anti-bribery and corruption lawyer with the firm, taking up the position of integrity commissioner.

The new position, which will start Jan. 1, will oversee the region’s code of conduct for councillors, which was approved in September. That code of conduct does not come into effect until the integrity commissioner is in place.

According to the report announcing the appointment, Fasken Martineau DuMoullin LLP will receive an annual retainer of $900. The law firm will also charge $239 per hour to investigate complaints made to the commissioner’s office, as well as for special projects include teaching seminars, public meetings or other special assignments.

Local municipalities will also have the option to sign on to use the commissioner’s services, with the region paying the retainer fee and the municipalities picking up the hourly tab.

Under this contract, Fasken Martineau DuMoullin LLP will hold the position until the end of 2021.

The region originally planned to have this position ready for when councillors returned from summer break in September. However, after all three respondents to Durham’s first request for proposals were disqualified, another RFP had to be issued.

“Each of them had problems. I’ve been told each were evaluated and were found to be noncompliant with some requirements of the RFP,” Matt Gaskell, the region’s commissioner of corporate services, told The Oshawa Express at the time.

“There were a variety of issues – some missing documents, some issues related to how they structured their financial proposal. I don’t want to go into detail because the RFP was discontinued, but they’re things that we’re trying to address in the new RFP to make abundantly clear so that we don’t have that again.”

It is unknown if Martineau DuMoullin LLP were one of the parties that submitted a bid during the initial RFP process.

Gaskell declined to comment for this story to The Oshawa Express, saying he wanted to wait until after the appointment receives final approval by regional council at its Dec. 14 meeting.