New Paper on Municipal Accountability Officers

A new paper, released this week by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG), argues that while municipal accountability officers can address many ethical problems and dilemmas, they can also create some of their own. According to the paper, written by Andy Sancton,

…the simplest and oldest municipal accountability mechanism is an election. Rather than expecting accountability officers to take over accountability functions from electors by imposing harsh penalties such as removal from office, we should see them as people who can help municipal voters make informed decisions.

Read the full paper here.

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One thought on “New Paper on Municipal Accountability Officers

  1. An interesting report from Mr. Sancton. I am glad he looked at the IC investigations in London and Sarnia as part of his survey; both of those instances I think underscore the problematically amorphous nature of the Integrity Commissioner role.

    For my part, I’ve always been a bit rankled by the IC’s findings in London’s Brown-Cassidy situation. Much of the media and public interest in that scandal was prurient in nature and the outrage about it stemmed from the relationship of the two politicians being adulterous in nature. But that should not diminish the fact that both were consenting adults and free to make their personal choices — even ones that ultimately could prove damaging to how their characters were perceived. There do not seem to be provisions in London’s Code of Conduct restricting “fraternization” between Council members, so it begs the question: if Brown and Cassidy had both been single when they initiated their relationship, could they have reasonably been found to have breached the code? I would argue no.

    Regardless, I do agree with Mr. Sancton’s position that it is a fraught business for ICs to inveigh on these sorts of issues. In my opinion, when it comes to these situations it’s better that judgement be passed by voters than by accountability officers.

    Liked by 1 person

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