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You decided. Phantom CAO lack of transparency controversy is the Story of the Year

Almost 1,850 votes were cast. and we have a winner
20180212 city hall north bay winter turl
North bay City Hall. Photo Jeff Turl

The votes are in, and by a wide margin, BayToday readers have chosen "FOI filed by private citizen reveals details of CAO Knox departure" as the local Story of the Year.

Almost 1,850 votes were cast, with the Freedom of Information story garnering 431 votes, or about 24 per cent of the total.

The story told of efforts by private citizen Kevin Ferris, who had grown frustrated by being stonewalled by the mayor, council and city staff, to unearth details pertaining to the province's Sunshine List. It showed CAO Jerry Knox being paid over $200,000 by the City to be a "corporate advisor" for two years after Knox "retired." 

Mayor Al McDonald denied involvement forcing Ferris to file a Freedom of information request.

The documents showed that McDonald was heavily involved, and no work was actually done by Knox as a corporate advisor, nor was there ever a job description or job posting.

"I think the overwhelming public response to this story shows that the people of North Bay are not at all satisfied with Mayor McDonald's explanation of the events surrounding this contract with Mr. Knox," Ferris told BayToday. "No process was followed and people feel very let down by the previous City Councillors that directed staff, in an in-camera meeting, to enter into this agreement, and finally by the staff itself. Where's the transparency? The City fought this release for over a year, lost an appeal, had unsuccessful mediation, and finally lost in the adjudication stage. Luckily the Privacy Commissioner has a very different view of what transparency and accountability are than the good folks down on McIntyre Street." 

In second place is the feel-good story of the year, the Hugely successful World Women’s Curling event brings prestige to city event which had the whole city buzzing with excitement and international exposure for the Gateway City.

"The new record is 70,000 and climbing," said Mark Brown, co-chair of the local organizing committee. "The attendance record that we set was for the highest attendance at any World Women's Curling Championship held in Canada."

The story gathered 232 votes or 13 per cent.

In 3rd, the continuing story...Casino coming. Council gives thumbs up.

The highly divisive story split the city with some citizens adamantly opposed and making numerous presentations to City Council while the mayor and majority of councillors gave it the 'go ahead' for 2019. That story scored 157 votes, or nine per cent.

Next up is Newsmaker of the Year.

Take our poll here.



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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