Here is the second in the series of 3 articles from the latest Mud Creek News. We know they are so popular at the post office that often they are gone before you know it but you can count on seeing the articles here at Ww. This one is from Herr Becker and we copy as it was sent to us.
THE BRIAN PORTER FLAW SERIES
Lutz E. Becker
According to the law the CAO of a municipality is the responsible officer in relation to FOIPOP requests. Mr. Brideau, for whatever reason had delegated these responsibilities to Brian Porter, the Town’s Director Financial Services.
In 2008 Mr. Porter mistakenly gave as a reason to black out about two lines of the infamous Mayor’s letter with his written explanation “not relevant”. Such a provision cannot be found in the FOIPOP statute to cover his decision of non-disclosure.
The complaint to the Review Office took about 1.5 years with no avail and might have taken additional 6 months or more for a recommendation. Mr. Porter’s “wrong” decision resulted partly in two court cases before the Town conceded to provide the requested information.
Looking at the content of those lines it was absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable under the law what Mr. Porter was trying to cover up. The finally provided unredacted copy of the Mayor’s letter was a low resolution and slightly distorted one and gave way for speculation of correctness.
The response of Mr. Porter to the FOIPOP request for the “Irving Agreement” – transferring Trojan [Clock] Park to the Town – showed his distorted understanding of the FOIPOP law. He misinterpreted the law when stating that the “Irving Agreement” could not be disclosed because it was supplied to the Town “in confidence”. His notifying letter to Irving reads that he was aware of Section 9.21 of the agreement entitled “Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure”. Obviously, Mr. Porter followed this confidentiality provision the Town had accepted which is not a sufficient reason under the law to refuse disclosure.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court was not willing to hear the arguments regarding the fact that Mr. Porter had improperly notified Irving as a third party and therefore had jurisdiction. The Court was of the opinion that any decision of Mr. Porter had to be presented to the Review Office first before the Supreme Court would have jurisdiction. This meant that the whole purpose of the FOIPOP statute could be subverted or at least stalled by poor assumptions of Mr. Porter.
And so it will be not a question if Wolfville citizens get access to the “Irving Agreement” but when it will be disclosed (after the Review Office Step of about two years???) or how long the Stead/Brideau administration will stall this information on tax payers’ expense.
Mr. Porter’s retirement at the end of this year might be a win for citizens’ FOIPOP and information requests.