Trustees and Admin Break Conflict of Interest Rules Setting Example For Staff and Students

BURLINGTON  Every year Halton Pro Life aka Halton Alive holds an annual general meeting for its members to vote on how to run the organization. While this isn't a problem for most members it is for the group below who voted to make them a favourite charity. It turns out they are pro life members who used your donated charity money (over $1000) for sponsorships, memberships and to have a night out on your dime.

Halton Alive AGM  Gala April 2017 -
Administration: Paula Dawson, Camillo Cipriano, Trustees: Karabela, Rabenda, Iantomasi, Michael, Marai

Trustees and administration have to follow board policy on and off the job so they don't end up in a conflict of interest situation. Like teachers you can't say and do whatever you want on your own time or it could cost you your job, there are a few rules. These Trustees just passed a charity motion making sure the Halton Alive charity (that they are members of) was added to the list of who the Board can give tens of thousands of dollars to and none of them declared a conflict of interest as required. To do this they had to break a few rules. 

Conflict of InterestPolicy I-36 HCDSB
Where a Trustee, either on his or her own behalf, or while acting for, by, with, or through another, has any pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, or any other conflict of interest in any matter and is present at a meeting of the Board at which the matter is subject of consideration, the Trustee shall: a) prior to any consideration of the matter of the meeting, disclose the interest and the general nature thereof; b) not take part in the discussion of, or vote on any question in respect of the matter; c) not discuss the issue with any other person; d) not attempt in any way whether before, during or after the meeting to influence the voting on such question; and e) leave the meeting or the part of the meeting during which the matter is under consideration, if the meeting is closed to the public.

Jane Michael is in fact friends with the executive director of Halton Alive Elea Hofman who has helped promote Jane's family restaurant. A very clear conflict of interest since she, as a Trustee, took part in voting to add Elea's charity to the list.

None of the Trustees reported the Halton Alive AGM as an expense in 2017 as required to and in violation of Board policy. How could all the Trustees involved forget to report a charity dinner? They mentioned going to the Bishops' dinner (see below) but not the Halton alive/Halton Pro Life annual dinner. Trustees' expenses are one of the very few ways the public gets to see how Trustees spend their money directly while carrying out their duties. Did the Director spend her own money or did she expense it with tax dollars too? Nobody knows because the Director won't say. 

This public display by Trustees and administration violating Board policy sets a precedent and will create a headache for the Board's chief of Human Resources Joe O'Hara. If a teacher or staff member of any kind wants to make a video, blog, TV appearance etc. regarding any political topic they could always claim they weren't in conflict or breaking Board policy they were just following the example of the Trustees and administration - Arbitrators will always have this example to point to.

As always the HCDSB NEWS invites your corrections, comments and criticisms and any replies received from people or institutions mentioned in any article will be published.