Last week the local paper ran a story about the legal costs that the city has incurred over the RRSP lawsuit that I joined in January of last year. While I have no argument with the article itself, although it's unfortunate that the paper had to resort to the Freedom of Information Act, rather than the information just being provided by the city, there is one point that wasn't mentioned in the article that I thought was worth mentioning, although I didn't think to do so when I was interviewed.
While I don't accept the independent report commissioned by the city, since its author didn't speak to me at all about the situation and thus prepared only a partial report, I think that people should know that the report states that I had every right to join that lawsuit, and that doing so did not mean that I broke my oath of office. This, of course, agrees with the legal advice that I received before joining the lawsuit, and with the opinions of several other legal types who have spoken to me about this over the past several months. The report does state that I was in conflict of interest because, according to the sources of the report, after I joined the lawsuit, I was present at meetings where legal strategies were discussed. Again, I decided to join the lawsuit in mid-January, at which point I made a public announcement that I was doing so, and after that, I removed myself from any council meeting where the lawsuit was on the agenda. Even before this, however, no legal strategies were discussed at any council meetings where I was present.
I know that I've said all this before, but I just wanted to provide the extra information to those who may be new to the situation, and don't want to read long-past blog entries.
The other point of clarification has to do with your 2009 pre-payment notice for city taxes. On this, you will see an amount for Debt Elimination. This, of course, is not going toward debt elimination, but towards the soccer centre, and on last year's tax notice was identified as Capital Projects - Field House and Wellness Centre. I'm hoping that this change was just an administrative oversight, and that on the final notice, which should be coming out in spring, after the new budget is approved, the amount will be identified correctly.
Like most of you, I hope, I'm at the end of a relaxing Christmas season. Because most of our family is in Ontario, Andrea and I (and Ingrid and Guthrie) have always had a relatively quiet Christmas season, with no travelling or housefuls of people to feed. This year was the same - friends over for dinner or wine during the season, but just the four of us on the big day, which was very nice. Ingrid (and her two cats) were here for almost two weeks, which was great; Guthrie worked throughout the holiday, but had both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, as well as New Year's Day.
Tomorrow will be the first Executive Committee Meeting of the year; next week will be the first regular Council Meeting. I'm not much for making resolutions, but I do hope that this final ten months of this particular council will go more smoothly, and that all members of council remember that their ultimate responsibility is to all citizens of Prince Albert, not to each other, and that we keep this in mind as we listen to each other, and consider thoughtfully every decision that we make.
"The interaction of many minds is usually more illuminating than the intuition of one." - Theodore C. Sorensen