Letter to the editor 1, Nov. 3, 2016
LBPSB refusal to make ethics ruling public
Recently, there has been a reported controversy concerning the Lester B. Pearson School Board's ethics commissioner's report which found an elected representative guilty of violating the board's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Commissioners three times since January 2016.
To the consternation of the public and school tax payers, the LBPSB has, up to this point, refused to make the ruling public, has failed to identify the charges, and refuses to identify the guilty commissioner. Although the board justifies its non-disclosure on the basis of Article 7.3 of the Ethics code, there is no reason that something as serious as three counts of breaking the Ethics code by one individual should not be disclosed to the public for safety sake and transparency.
Contrary to the Board’s refusal, precedence does exist which exhibits a varied interpretation of Article 7.3 of the LBPSB Code of Ethics. Article 7.3 of the LBPSB ethics’ code reads, in part, "The decision is final and without appeal.”
This is false and obviously open to interpretation since in a previous case where an ethics charge was filed against an LBPSB official an appeal process was granted to address perceived irregularities in the decision-making process. Additionally, this ruling was made public. Hypothetically, what happens when an ethics complaint is filed against a leading school board official and that accused individual is in direct contact with the ethics commissioner during the investigation? Furthermore, would there not be a clear case of ‘conflict of interest’ when this leading official might have the authority to sign the paycheck or contract with this ethics commissioner?
In terms of the current ethics case at the LBPSB, it is unfortunate but very clear that all the commissioners are suspect of breaching the ethics code. It is damaging to their reputation and it undermines the public confidence in the entire LBPSB Council of Commissioners at the expense of one guilty commissioner.
Solely, just on that basis, it is imperative that these innocent commissioners are publicly exonerated and that the only way to ensure that happens is to make the respective LBPSB ethics ruling public.