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Citizen activist is North Bay's 'Newsmaker of the Year'

Ferris received 42 per cent of the 650 votes cast
kevin ferris
Kevin Ferris. Supplied.

A private citizen, who took the City to task for a lack of transparency, is the "Newsmaker of the Year" according to a BayToday poll.

Kevin Ferris filed a pair of high profile Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, forcing city staff to release, reluctantly, information on the Jerry Knox "corporate advisor" controversy, and results from Summer in the Park.

Ferris received 42 per cent of the 650 votes cast.

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli was runner-up with 21 per cent, after a memorable year for the veteran politician. Fedeli became interim PC leader after the sudden resignation of Patrick Brown, won reelection as Nipissing MPP, then was named to the high profile Minister of Finance job under new Premier Doug Ford.

In third spot was the Ford World Women's Curling Committee of Mark Brown, Rick Miller, and Dave Bennett.

They scored 17 per cent of the vote after a spectacular spring event that drew world-wide praise. 

Ferris was also the central figure in BayToday reader's Story of the Year.

Growing frustrated at the lack of transparency at City Hall, Ferris filed an FOI to get information on the Jerry Knox issue, where the former CAO was on the Sunshine List. making over $200,000 per year for two years after his "retirement." 

City staff offered so little information that Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner ordered a second search, which Ferris says still hasn't told the whole story. He's filed another appeal.

A second FOI request involved Summer in the Park which Ferris filed days after the event asking for attendance and financial numbers. Despite having those numbers days after SITP, the City refused to release them to the public until the last day that they had to...90 days after the Ferris request.

Despite calls from a number of council candidates for the numbers to be released before the municipal election, it was well after the election before they were made public, raising more eyebrows.

The documents showed only 1,204 tickets were sold, resulting in a quarter million dollar loss.

Last year's winner was Sara Carson.

See: Sara Carson and Hero are 2017 North Bay Newsmakers of the Year

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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