Friday, January 05, 2007

The Secrecy Club

It seems that Windsor isn't the only municipality that has issues with secrecy.
City hall under fire for secrecy
Despite Miller's promise for openness, officials mum on sale of street-light poles


The City of Toronto is still keeping secret many of the details around the controversial sale of its thousands of street-light poles, a move derided by critics as a creative accounting trick used to plug a hole in its budget two years ago.

After months of talks, the city finally concluded the deal to sell the poles to a subsidiary of Toronto Hydro Corp. -- a city-owned utility -- for $60-million in December of 2005, 10 months after council approved the last-ditch move.

More than a year later, despite repeated promises from Mayor David Miller to make city hall more open and transparent, city officials are refusing to release various documents around the deal, including the contract.

The province's Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, in an interim order issued late last month, scolded city officials for being "somewhat disingenuous" in their response to a request for the information, and demanded the city widen its search for the documents.
In some ways this is a good thing for taxpayers, in the long run. The more incidents like this that happen and are publicized, the greater chance that momentum will build for Provincial Open Government legislation.

Politicians truly are their own worst enemy.