Niagara Region’s Chair Has “Sullied” His Position With His Response to Ongoing CAO Hiring Controversy

In a recent email to members of Niagara Region’s council, Caslin has delivered “the most puerile and disrespectful taunt any chair has ever lodged. For this alone Caslin deserves to NOT be elected on the St. Catharines regional ballot this coming October.”                 – St. Catharines resident and former Niagara regional councillor Don Alexander

A Special Meeting Of Niagara Region’s Council on the Hiring Controversy has been scheduled for this Thursday, August 16th, starting at 2 p.m. at Niagara’s regional headquarters in Thorold

A News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted August 15th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Region’s CAO Carmen D’Angelo is at the centre of a controversy over the integrity of the process used to hire him in 2016 to the Region’s top bureaucratic post – a job that pays $230,000 a year.

Niagara, Ontario – Ongoing reports by The St. Catharines Standard and other news media that the October, 2016 hiring of former Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) CAO Carmen D’Angelo to chief administrative officer (CAO) for Niagara Region may have been tainted or corrupted by others inside the regional government have drawn widespread public concern.

This Sunday, August 12th, those reports, along with growing demands from Niagara citizens for action, prompted 18 members of the regional council to petition the Region’s Chair Al Caslin this August 12th to address this serious matter again.

In a letter accompanying the petition, the 18 directly elected  councillors and Niagara mayors who sit on the Region’s council stressed that they “are very concerned about the erosion of public trust in our communities regarding Niagara Regional Government. The harm to the reputation of the Region is a serious concern.”

“As more and more information is forthcoming about the potential interference between the Chair’s office and the hiring of the CAO, it is imperative Council meets to resolve this issue,” the 18 members of the Region’s council added. “

In response to the letter and petition, which The St. Catharines Standard has published and which Niagara At Large included in a commentary we posted this August 13th, Caslin, who is running in St. Catharines as a candidate for regional council again this October and who claims not to read reports about the hiring controversy in The Standard, sent an email to the 18 of the 31 directly elected councillors and mayors.

Caslin’s email reads as follows  –

Niagara regional chair Al Caslin reportedly won’t be attending a special meeting of the Region’s council this Thursday, August 16 to address the hiring controversy..

“Councillors – You all had 2 hours last meeting to speak candidly to Carm (D’Angelo).  You grilled him for the entire time and agreed on a course of action in open session.  

To ask for another meeting less than two weeks later is nothing less than disingenuous politicking by the same few characters who have contributed the least this term of council.  

I encourage you to focus on the important community issues before us including: lowering taxes and bring quality jobs to Niagara.  

I will not be calling another meeting to talk about the same tabloid stories that have already been thoroughly investigated and decided upon by a third party investigation that has cost the Taxpayers of Niagara dearly.  Regards, Alan.

Suffice to say, Niagara At Large, like other media in the region, has received a good number of emails, phone calls, along with helpful information and some comments for posting on the site from those who agree to share their names with their words

Before Niagara Region’s council holds a special meeting on the hiring controversy this Thursday, August 16th, starting at 2 p.m. at Niagara regional headquarters off Schmon Parkway in Thorold, we wish to share two notes that we feel everyone across Niagara should read in the process of deciding what should be done about what is, in our view, nothing less than a crisis of confidence in our regional government.

The first comment is from St. Catharines resident and former Niagara regional councillor Don Alexander, written in response to reading Caslin’s email to the 18 members of council in Niagara At Large.

Don Alexander’s comment reads as follows – 

St. Catharines resident and former Niagara regional councillor Don Alexander feels Al Caslin has “sullied” the regional chair’s seat

“The letter of response from Caslin printed in this article is the most puerile and disrespectful taunt any chair has ever lodged. For this alone Caslin deserves to NOT be elected on the St. Catharines regional ballot this coming October. We readers will have that choice.

(Niagara At Large) publisher Doug Draper refers to his observations of a time when chairs and councils and their actions were respectful. He goes back 39 years and my recollections go back even further, to the very beginning, to the startup years under chair John Campbell.

I served two terms in the 1970s as an elected member of Regional Council.
John Campbell, the then chair, is properly lauded in his short biography on the Region Niagara site: “…abilities as an effective mediator and his achievements at gaining compromise among fellow politicians..”

Yes. I recall the civility emanating from John Campbell that permeated the whole conduct and friendships of the Councillors.

I am ashamed that the chair position has been sullied by this chair’s letter to our elected councillors characterizing their actions as “disingenuous politicking by the same few characters who have contributed least…”

I will attend to observe, the requested special meeting this week. I hope my presence in the public gallery will serve to affirm the valuable service made by all the previous chairs and councils.

Don Alexander, elected member Regional Council 1973-76”

The second and final piece of information we wish to share with you  is from Linda Manson, a resident of Niagara Falls, who recently joined other Niagara residents in calling on the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office to do its own independent investigation of the hiring controversy.

Linda Manson followed up her call on the Ombudsman with a message to  all members of Niagara Region’s council which she sent prior to 18 of them petitioning Caslin for  this Thursday’s special meeting.

Niagara Region’s council in session

Linda Manson’s note to all members of the council reads as follows –

“To those of you who have been ‘leaking’ information the public has a right to know … thank you!

To the REST of you … grow a spine! 

To ALL of you … DO something meaningful!

AS A COUNCIL: 

  1. FIRE the CAO — BEFORE THE ELECTION — at whatever cost!  Before Niagara loses any more credibility (if that is possible.)
  2. Stop the farce of HIS ‘latest in-house investigation orchestrated by him’ … so the Ontario Ombudsman can do the job!
  3. Request Ombudsman intervention … ASAP. 

D’Angelo’s admission of wrong-doing to get hired was obviously intentionally announced ‘behind closed doors’ on July 26th.

It was done ‘in your face’ — and a slap-in-the-face to us all.

He should have been fired on the spot! 

And what kind of contract was he handed —under your nose—that allowed the 2-year extension without going before council?!  Who extended it?  And when?   

Even those of you ‘in his corner’ must realize … There comes a time to cut losses!”

What do you think of all of this. Niagara At Large invites you to share your views below in the comment section or via email at drapers@vaxxine.com .

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

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5 responses to “Niagara Region’s Chair Has “Sullied” His Position With His Response to Ongoing CAO Hiring Controversy

  1. I applaud and agree with Don Alexander and Linda Manson – well said both! The present situation is indefensible and untenable. The Chair has assumed an attitude of dictatorship, shutting down any and all questions with which he disagreed, he dismantled the democratic process, allowing certain members of Council to bully and intimidate others with impunity. The stand taken by those who signed the petition was strong – finally – it is sad that this show of strength was so long in coming. There should have been a vote of non confidence in Caslin months, if not years ago and D’Angelo should have been fired with cause as soon as it was revealed he was “secretly” assisted by Caslin and staff in Caslin’s office.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Councillors have made a courageous decision to hold this special meeting. Now they must stop the internal investigation so that the Ombudsman can investigate. He will have the power to find the original digital records that can provide evidence that about tampering in the hiring process of the CAO. Given that D’Angelo was working at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority at the time, it’s imperative that that agency’ servers be searched as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I applaud the councillors who requested this meeting. I have been watching the obscene subjugation of democracy and the ongoing demagoguery by the “leadership” of this current council and am appalled. When you look at the interconnecteness of the troubles at the NPCA and at the region .. sadly we see the same names over and over. Time to clean house! Turf these same name councillors and the parasites they have lodged in the system.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that, given the continuing obfuscation from the Chair, the CAO and their cronies, the only credible investigation if they won’t let the Ombudsman do it, get the OPP to investigate.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow what a mess and so much anger but you are all attacking the big Boss what about the workers how are being black ball after workingand years of quality work but they are pass because they don’t fit or are not the person they want even do she or he are the most qualified candidates. What is a person to do went they failed beat and constantly put down by managers. I know for a fact that individual come to work with tears in there eyes everyday but still performed 120 percent because they have good integrity and self respect. Further more wonder how long could she are he last before they are so burn by management she or he will hide and not surface again.ros

    Like

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