Sandra Cooper under investigation again.


For the second time in her tenure as Mayor of Collingwood, Sandra Cooper is under investigation for conflict of interest. The first time was the ongoing and incomplete OPP investigation. This time she is being investigated by integrity commissioner Robert Swayze for her failure to recuse herself from discussion and the vote to disband the Collingwood Public Utilities Service Board. A board that she was sitting on and receiving remuneration.
The following day after that vote last week, I decided to call around a few of the usual suspects, to find out if any one was going to make that complaint to the integrity commissioner. If no one else was I was going to do it myself. The first call I made was to Steve Berman and he confirmed that he was indeed filing a complaint so I didn’t need to bother. Actually the next two people I called also said they would do it if no one else intended to.
For an in depth assessment ‎of the merits of this claim, please read an opinion piece by former mayor Chris Carrier and a few well thought out comments in my previous post.

This one has legs so stay tuned.

The following is a draft of Steve’s letter to Robert Swayze:

Mr Swayze,

I would like to file a complaint regarding Mayor Sandra Cooper. At a special meeting of Council on June 22nd, Mayor Cooper did not declare a conflict of interest on two matters that are of concern.

Here is the agenda (http://www.collingwood.ca/node/12403)

Council voted on two issues, one regarding the Collingwood Public Utilities Service Board (CPUSB), and another regarding Collus PowerStream.

Mayor Cooper is a paid member on the Board of Directors of the CPUSB. Councillor Tim Fryer is also a paid member of the board, and he declared a conflict and left the meeting.

Mayor Cooper gave an explanation to the press,

“He (Fryer) may have had whatever reasons of his own that I’m not aware of. He did just let me know right before the council meeting that he would be stepping away, and I was in a different opinion and I spoke to someone that would (have) some good advice and thinking it through,” she said, adding it is comparable to serving on the Police Services Board. “I was appointed by the striking committee to represent council at the board (CPUSB),” she added.

You can read it here http://www.theenterprisebulletin.com/2015/06/23/water-changes-are-refreshing

You can view it, and the entire proceedings here http://www.rogerstv.com/page.aspx?lid=237&rid=72&gid=235286

Mayor Cooper is also on the Board of Director for Collus PowerStream (http://www.colluspowerstream.ca/electricity/collus-powerstream-board-directors)

While her earnings on that board are not public, research shows “Directors receive $14,000 annually, as well as $650 for each meeting they attend”.

(From http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/2015/04/29/barrie-mayor-may-be-paid-for-his-powerstream-position)

I have not been able to find whether Mayor Cooper sits on the boards of Collus Power Corp, Collus Solutions Corp, or Collus Energy Corp, which are related as shown in this

http://www.powerstream.ca/ContentMgr/attachments/COLLUS_APPL_MAAD%20Application1_20120309.pdf

Mayor Cooper and council voted on recommendations made in a report that was presented to them at the same meeting. The report even states,

Note: The Mayor, Councillor Fryer and the CAO are members of the Collingwood Public Utilities Services Board. The Mayor is also a member of the Collus PowerStream Solutions Inc. Board

You can view the entire report in the agenda, linked at the top of this page.

Collingwood Council will likely have a number of motions over the next several months, stemming from the decisions made on Monday night. I hope you will be able to clarify this potential issue, so that it does not come into question each time a subsequent vote is cast.

Thanks you in advance

Steve Berman

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4 thoughts on “Sandra Cooper under investigation again.

  1. Pingback: This Week in Collingwood Politics – July 11, 2015 | enough is enough

  2. It may be possible to argue that serving on the CPUSB as an appointee of Council should not be seen as a conflict of interest. The very reason that Councilors are part of these municipal Boards is to ensure that Council’s position is represented. Having the appointed Councilor speak to the topic makes sense for we do not want an individual Council representative to make decisions without the benefit of input from the balance of Council. I believe Councilor Fryer made a judgement call to avoid any perception of conflict and should be applauded for that.

    The Conflict of Interest for the Mayor is the fact that she serves on the Board of COLLUS Power Stream. In that position she has a responsibility to serve in the best interest of a company that has financial service contracts with the CPUSB. It is a true conflict when she has to make decisions in the best interest of COLLUS Power Stream which may be in conflict with the best interest of the CPUSB.

    As such I fully agree that there was a conflict in this particular case. I do not believe any councilor should have been allowed to be on both boards when one provides services to the other.

  3. Pingback: This Week in Collingwood Politics – July 4, 2015 | enough is enough

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