By RTH Staff
Published September 08, 2010
this blog entry has been updated
Yesterday, mayoral candidate Larry Di Ianni issued a policy paper on "Improving Accountability and Transparency" in which he accused incumbent candidate Fred Eisenberger of trying to hide the details of Eisenberger's "secret meeting in New York City" with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, failing to disclose "pertinent information" to Council in regards to the Pan Am stadium site, and running "an increasingly dysfunctional Council" with "a toxic environment". Di Ianni also claims that Council moved a motion to remove the Mayor from Pan Am stadium negotiations.
Di Ianni's statement promises to: publish his daily schedule online; post a detailed account of his monthly expenses; publish details of any gifts received; disclose any annual income exceeding $10,000; limit in-camera meetings; reform election finance rules to ban corporate and union donations; and establish a mandatory Lobbyist Registry for the City.
Eisenberger's campaign shot back with a "Fact Check" stating that Di Ianni's policies are "largely cribbed" from Eisenberger's 2006 platform and that most of the items Di Ianni promised are already taking place or are at the advanced planning stage.
Eisenberger's campaign noted that the City's Accountability and Transparency Sub-Committee is already finalizing its plans for a Lobbyist Registry, adding pointedly that the Sub-Committee was established "after the previous mayor became the first Ontario Mayor in history to be convicted of violating the Municipal Election Act" for accepting campaign donations beyond the legal limit.
Likewise, Eisenberger says his schedule, expense reports, gifts received, and annual income over $10,000 are already publicly available. His response adds, "In camera meetings are already restricted by law and strictly limited and policed by the independent city clerks."
Eisenberger accuses Di Ianni of being "late to the party" in pledging not to accept campaign contributions from unions or corporations. Eisenberger didn't accept such donations in 2006 and is not accepting them in 2010.
The statement rejects Di Ianni's claim that he had "failed to disclose pertinent information" to Council regarding a phone call from the Premier's Office, stating, "The Mayor together with the City Manager confirmed that this simply did not occur."
Eisenberger also claims that his office voluntarily disclosed the expenses for the Mayor's New York trip and would have disclosed the details had they known that the FOI request came from the press.
The FOI in question was not launched about the mayor's meeting specifically. It was to seek expenses from a number of different individuals. When it came in, it contained all the details of the trip and meeting, and when we pursued it with the mayor, he was co-operative and forthcoming. So he is correct in saying we didn't ask him or his staff first, but that's because we didn't know about the specifics of the event until the FOI came back.
Events such as Eisenberger's meeting with Bettman and his private, $500-a-plate fundraising barbecue in June have raised questions about his commitment to openness and transparency.
Update this blog entry has been updated to include the response from the Spectator in regards to its FOI request. Thanks to editor Howard Elliott for his clarification. You can jump to the added paragraph.
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