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City spends one third of its Integrity Commissioner budget on single case

The core allegation was that McDonald did not declare a conflict of interest when he was involved in a decision by Invest North Bay to sign a $1 million dollar marketing contract with a company, TWG Communications, that had acted for his mayoral campaigns in the last three municipal elections
20180716 al mcdonald
Al McDonald. Submitted.

North Bay will have spent at least one-third of its $150,000 yearly budget on a single case that investigated allegations of conflict of interest against Mayor Al McDonald, says a report going to Council Monday.

The core allegation was that McDonald did not declare a conflict of interest when he was involved in a decision by Invest North Bay to sign a $1 million dollar marketing contract with a company, TWG Communications, that had acted for his mayoral campaigns in the last three municipal elections, and that a principal of the company, Bill Ferguson has acted as McDonald's campaign manager.

See: Integrity Commissioner raises 'troubling issues' says Ferris, in report on Invest North Bay conflict of interest allegations

Council will receive the report dated December 11, 2020 from City Clerk Karen McIsaac, "for information purposes."

The investigation was conducted by Acting Integrity Commissioner George Valin, a former judge and city councillor.

McIssac's reports contains the background result that, "There is no direct evidence, and no circumstantial evidence from which a reasonable inference can be drawn, that either of the Respondents (McDonald and Canadore President George Burton) have contravened Article XIII of the Code of Conduct.report from the Acting Integrity Commissioner.

The report does not include any of Valin's recommendations.

In his report, Valin rejected all of the defence arguments.

"The City has expended $41,879.88 up to and including November 30, 2020, in relation to this matter. The City will also be receiving one additional invoice for the month of December. Each year the City budgets $150,000.00 for investigations made by the Integrity Commissioner," states McIssac's report.

In June of 2020 the City’s Integrity Commissioner, received a complaint alleging that a Member of Council (McDonald) and a Member of a Local Board (George Burton) had breached the City of North Bay’s Code of Conduct.

See the full Integrity Commissioner report here.

BayToday reached out to Mayor McDonald for comment but received no response.


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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