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National Post - Mar. 12, 2010 - By Megan O'Toole - firstname.lastname@example.org
Hazel McCallion's office flip-flops on email records
In a bizarre about-face, Mississauga’s judicial inquiry heard today that Mayor Hazel McCallion’s office has an “elaborate process” for retaining records — and that, in fact, every email she receives is printed and stored in a file folder.
The testimony from Carol Horvat, Ms. McCallion’s executive assistant, contrasted with statements last week by commission counsel William McDowell, who raised concerns about document production for the inquiry. Citing correspondence from the city, he indicated the Mayor “really doesn’t retain documents” in a number of areas, with emails printed off and then deleted from the system.
“They aren’t archived,” he said in regard to electronic correspondence, such as email. “Hard copies of general mail items are kept for a couple of years in storage and then destroyed.”
His statements spurred questions from council observers, who a month ago watched as Ms. McCallion and Councillor Carolyn Parrish clashed over the mayor’s private cache of emails.
Ms. Parrish said the Mayor threatened to use a “half-inch thick” file of printed emails to defeat certain councillors in the next election, an assertion Ms. McCallion denied, though she did acknowledge filing “anything that comes into my office.”
Mr. McDowell, who questioned Ms. Horvat for the better part of an hour today on the Mayor’s record-keeping practices, is now chalking the discrepancy up to a misunderstanding. The confusion appears to have arisen over how records are stored, whether electronically or in paper form.
Ms. Horvat, who has worked in the Mayor’s office for two decades, said email policies have remained largely the same over the past 10 years. When a message comes into the Mayor’s account, “a hard copy is made and registered, and then the email is deleted,” she said.
Printed emails are placed in a file for the Mayor, who does not personally use the email system, to review daily; afterward, they are moved into separate subject files and stored, Ms. Horvat told the inquiry hearing.
Mr. McDowell asked whether the Mayor had ever given any direction to shred documents, such as those pertinent to the judicial inquiry.
“No, she would never do something like that,” Ms. Horvat replied.
Ms. Parrish, who admitted being “baffled” by the city’s initial comments on record retention, said she was pleased the discrepancy had been addressed.
The inquiry commission has so far received the equivalent of about 30 banker’s boxes of documents from the city in relation to the inquiry, Mr. McDowell says.
Scheduled to begin public hearings on May 17, the inquiry will examine a host of dealings involving several entities doing business in the city of Mississauga. Among other things, the inquiry, overseen by Justice John Douglas Cunningham, will probe Ms. McCallion’s role in a failed multi-million-dollar land deal involving her son.
Another major topic will be a decade-old agreement that gave Borealis, a subsidiary of pension giant OMERS, veto power on board decisions for a 10% stake in Enersource, the city-owned utility. The mayor said she signed that deal without knowledge of the change.
The city solicitor has confirmed the inquiry’s projected cost will soar past the initial estimate of $2-million as various layers are peeled back.
Comments by others - 23 - to this web-page at time of posting;
by watcher0I0 Mar 13 2010 12:20 AM
Non-person here - see I was kept from the "News", even though I was first up at inquiry.
Interesting how I suddenly became the centre of attention at the Mississauga Inquiry - the third in this area since 1952 - by standing my ground over the right of citizen reporters to attend and recording events was granted that permission. At least till a more formal ruling. That because of that other photographer there were allowed to snap a few shots. Yes I set another legal precedence. But the real story is why was it left out of the Missing News coverage - would that not invite others to question what else is being left out of the media coverage? Issues of trust arise but only to those who know there is more to events then are being reported. At the last Inquiry hearing I videoed it all and posted 2 parts which are on my YouTube site - www.youtube.com/profile?user=watcher0I0 Along with a video of cute baby skunks - check it out.
I failed to attend yesterday's hearing (believe it or not thought it was next Friday!).
Can tell you this.
The statement, "In a bizarre about-face, Mississauga’s judicial inquiry heard today that Mayor Hazel McCallion’s office has an “elaborate process” for retaining records — and that, in fact, every email she receives is printed and stored in a file folder." is ABSOLUTELY false.
Methinks the Judicial Inquiry people should look into the City's Records Retention By-Law... as did when I secured it through Freedom of Information!
Look at this Orwellian change in wording in the Records Destruction By-Law between the original (1996) and an update (2003) one.
I also have all the staff emails pertaining to "modifications" in their Records Destruction By-Law.
Or how about the annual Corporate shredding of documents? The one that encourages staff to snitch on each other...
Or this curious job posting for a manager of corporate records who will address the Records Destruction By-Law who can "apply appropriate solutions to the management of electronic documents".
And gosh, how Horvat FAILED to mention that only what Staff record as a "RECORD" that is, City business is printed to hardcopy prior to the email being deleted.
Example: Email saying "Let's meet for dinner at Honchos with X and Y" can be deleted AND not kept in hardcopy if City business wasn't discussed.
I've decided to wait on posting video on City of Mississauga's Records Destruction Byh-Law until I know *exactly* what the Mayor's secretary said at the Inquiry.
But using your quote: "'When a message comes into the Mayor’s account, ' a hard copy is made and registered, and then the email is deleted,' she said." THIS IS FALSE.
Here's what Staff are instructed to do with emails (photographed on May 15, 2008 at Living Arts Centre)
FACT (confirmed through Freedom of Information including video and photographs).
ONLY an email that Staff (and the Mayor's secretary) label "city business" is deemed a "record".
Only emails regarded as "records" are printed out as hardcopy and kept.
For example (in the link provided), the email (on green paper) stating "Let's go for lunch today. I'll meet you at the elevator" would not be considered a record and as you can see by City handwritten instructions, Staff are to DELETE.
What constitutes a "record" then figures prominently when Judicial Inquiry investigators are to determine whether a meeting (or lunch) with McCallion did or did not take place!
Also, Freedom of Information confirms that City of Mississauga adheres to MINIMUM record retention.
Wow, who would have guessed it; another article about Mississauga and the same two people arguing about it. Probably the same two people who happen to make up the only 2 people who voted in the last municipal election.
Articles ofthis nature have no business being under the Toronto section of the news. Its a different city with its unique and totally boring problems.
To Darren, you wrote, "Wow, who would have guessed it; another article about Mississauga and the same two people arguing about it."
Yeah and guess why?
We're the only two people who file FREEDOM OF INFORMATION and comprehend the level of corruption and malgovernance that exists in the City of Mississauga (and to be fair, likely in most if not all Ontario/Canadian municipalities).
And allow me to add, so, Darren in TO, did you bother following my links to view what Freedom of Information confirms about how the City of Mississauga "handles" records?....
Carry your ignorance proud, dude!
Neither did I view those links nor do I care to ever do so
These articles about Mississauga have no business under the Toronto section of the news. Simple put; No one cares
Darren, Ahhhhhh oh ye of zero imagination!
This Mississauga article has a LOT to do with Toronto. I'd say that over 90% of Torontonians would think TO's problems would be solved if only Hazel were at the helm.
The reality is that McCallion's longevity has to do with a fortuitious mix of no legitimate media combined with supreme ability of her people to Control The Positive Positive Positive Message.
And as testimony to your ignorance the "totally boring problems" in MYTHissauga are the same throughout this province.
Municipalities with no authentic accountability framework. And a Province that nudge, nudge winks winks.
And sheeple who deserve their future.
No one cares. This article has no business being under the Toronto section of the news. No one cares about it, and no one cares about your continuing rants about your city. And all this weas reflected in your fail attempt/s for office.
Darren, you keep insisting this is about Mississauga. It isn't. The shameful, toxic problem citizens face is systemic --pan-provincial.
The problem is an appalling Pretend that exists to how we are governed. Massive wastes of money on social programs that aren't evaluated for effectiveness.
But more than anything a mindset among the public sector bent on fooling people --duping taxpayers, trumpeting successes and progress that simply doesn't exist.
As for my "failed attempt/s for office" suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurely you don't think I'm serious running for office!
My first "attempt" in 2006 was when I noticed that a councillor was going for months acclaimed. So I filed. When a couple others jumped in, I pulled out. Success!
My heady experience in 2006 has now prepared me to be a viable challenger to Hazel McCallion for 2010.
The only thing funnier is you thinking that what happens in Mississauga has nothing to do with Toronto.
So, Darren. How do Toronto Mayors' keep THEIR RECORDS?...
Not only are you obviously powerhungry, but you're also an attention seeker. You'll never get elected because you are a broken record and a voice no one asked to hear.
I should have just avoided this article and left it for your usual rants, because you are the only one who cares about this garbage of an article in the Toronto news section
Darren, Darren, Darren,
"powerhungry"? Good gawd! I'd be horrified if I accidentally got elected to anything! As for "attention seeker", I'd love to show you the interview requests with media that I've turned down.
I made a mistake and let someone from from Global interview me and the results were exactly why I shrink at Traditional Media. They don't Get It.
As for your moronic assessment that I am "a voice no one asked to hear" I just received email from the Judicial Inquiry folks who asked if I had video of a particular Council meeting.
Turns out I do! You'd be surprised just how much other Enersource-related video is not being considered a "broken record".
Truly odd how you regard Freedom of Information documents and actual video of Mississauga Council as "rants".
You wrote, "you are the only one who cares about this garbage of an article in the Toronto news section". Mississauga has HUGE relevance to Toronto, Darren.
After all, Mississauga perpetually considers itself SUPERIOR to Toronto. Perpetually craps on Toronto.
Frankly, I've always found that Mississauga Holier-than-Toronto attitude offensive.
For anyone (besides Darren in TO) interested in the Mississauga Mayor's Office record-keeping (and remember, City of Mississauga trumpets itself as "leading Canada in management so you're looking at the best municipal record-keeping in Canada) I've compiled a video transcript of Mississauga's Records Retention By-Law and compared that with what Coral Horvat testified before Friday's Judicial Inquiry.
Blog: City of Mississauga 1996 Records Retention By-Law “In most legal situations, keeping electronic records for a longer period of time than that scheduled for paper records will not be to the City’s advantage.” at: www.mississaugawatch.ca/blog
Do YOU know how your municipality keeps records?.....
DOnt put words in my mouth. I was referring to your opinions here. No one cares for this argument, and no one cares for your opinion on it seeing how in most articles about Mississauga you are a one person rant
Darren, Darren, Darren,
What are you so afraid of?...
Oopsie. Forgot something.
"DOnt put words in my mouth. I was referring to your opinions here."
Actually, Darren, they're not opinions. Most of the material is videotape and Freedom of Information. Facts.
Second, you wrote: "No one cares for this argument, and no one cares for your opinion on it seeing how in most articles about Mississauga you are a one person rant."
Actually you'd be surprised who cares.
Truly sad that you consider fact-based research as "rants".
But you are correct that it is a "one person" thing. Seems that I'm the only person who has audio or videotape of essential Enersource-related meetings going back to 2007 and Freedom of Information on the City's Records Retention By-Law that is germaine to the Mayor's record-keeping.
Here's another way Mississauga has relevance to all Canadian municipalities. Minutes of meetings are santitized and often hide what actually transpired in meetings.
Then, a decade later when people realize they've been duped, they try and go back and realize that all they have to fall back on, are bogus manicured minutes of meetings.
All kind of Orwellian Krelim-y, don'tcha think?
Yeah, you do that
And you keep resisting shining a Light.
Do you hear that?? Thats the sound of no one caring
Nice bait, but not interested.
wherein he chomps on the bait sweet and true!
Sounds very mature for someone wanting to hold elected office. You're the equivalent of a cyber geek, a troll, a pest. You cant be taken seriously since you're intent is to make pages long back-and-forth and a topic NO ONE CARED about, and you continue to bait and think that this is somehow intelligent and worthy of attention
(Wherein he chomped down hard on the flow-glow-danglee-worm..)
Darren, you wrote "Sounds very mature for someone wanting to hold elected office."
I already TOLD you. I don't WANT to hold elected office, dude! I just want to write about the experience! Just researchin' for another book, bud.
You wrote, "You're the equivalent of a cyber geek, a troll, a pest. You cant be taken seriously since you're intent is to make pages long back-and-forth and a topic NO ONE CARED about, and you continue to bait and think that this is somehow intelligent and worthy of attention."
Yeah, but just think of what that says about YOU! You're responding to someone you're convinced is a (she cuts-and-pastes) "a cyber geek, a troll, a pest."
Hey, I'm havin' a GREAT time!
(Wherein she reaches for the rubber chicken and greasy banana peel and lowers the line into the water and.....)
[I sure hope the NatPost comments approvers are having as much fun as I am!]
The Mississauga Muse
Incidentally for the actual transcript upon which Megan O’Toole bases her article, you can read the Mississauga Judicial Inquiry March 12, 2010 transcript at:
[COMMENTS BY DON B. - ]
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