“Why wouldn’t you publish (them) anyway, just to have our own sunshine in the Niagara region?” – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley to “Acting CAO” David Barrick at the Region’s January 31st, 2019 budget review committee meeting
A Brief Report by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper (with more to come later)
Posted February 1st, 2019 on Niagara At Large
David Barrick, allegedly serving as the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s interim or acting chief administrative officer (CAO), told members of Niagara Region’s budget review committee this January 31st that the NPCA did not report salaries and benefits higher above $100,000 per year for Ontario’s ‘Sunshine List’ last year because Conservation Authorities in the province don’t have to.
Yet a fast look at the province’s 2018 Sunshine list reveals that at least 10 of the 35 other Conservation Authorities in Ontario, are on the list, posting information for members of their staff earning annual salaries and benefits of $100,000 or more.
Among the Conservation Authorities on the list are those for Lakehead Region, Essex Region, Halton Region, Otonabee Region and more.
Barrick, who served last term as a regional councillor for Port Colborne, and who has recently been fired from an administrative post at the NPCA, only to be rehired by whoever was still sitting on the Conservation Authority’s old board, and made “acting CAO,” was questioned about the Sunshine List by Niagara Region’s recently sworn in Chair, Jim Bradley.
Bradley asked Barrick why no staffers from the NPCA appear on the province’s list, only to be told by Barrick that under the province’s Conservation Act, Conservation Authorities don’t have to report that information.
“Why wouldn’t you publish (annual salaries and benefits above six figures for NPCA staffers) anyway,” asked Bradley again, “just to have our own sunshine in the Niagara region?”
Barrick then responded that the province told the Conservation Authority that information shouldn’t be released.
“The public will be frustrated with that answer,” Bradley said.
No doubt members of the public will be, and probably already are frustrated with that answer.
Over the past three or four years, citizens across the Niagara region have become growingly frustrated and infuriated over failures or flat-out refusals by the NPCA to disclose information about salaries, contracts, legal costs and other matters that involve the spending of millions of dollars of their municipal tax money.
One citizen, Ed Smith, a retired Canadian Armed Forces officer, found himself being sued after he disclosed a list of questions and concerns about business the NPCA was doing that he and others believed its administrators were refusing to be open about.
The lawsuit against Ed Smith was later defeated in the Ontario courts.
Yet even now, Smith and other members of a citizens group he is part of – a group called A Better Niagara – has had to apply through provincial freedom of information legislation in an attempt to learn details of whatever contract deal the NPCA may have made with Barrick over his reported promotion to the acting CAO post.
Niagara At Large will be updating this story and providing more details and commentary later.
To see other Conservation Authorities, on Ontario’s most recent Sunshine List, click on – file:///C:/Users/owner/Desktop/conservation%20authorities%20sunshine%20lists%20CCE20190201.pdf .
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