City needs more council security, commission to probe leaks: Lawyer – Metro US

City needs more council security, commission to probe leaks: Lawyer

Vancouver needs to install tighter security around in-camera city council meetings and create an ‘integrity commissioner’ to investigate confidential information leaks, recommends a Vancouver lawyer.

Richard Peck Q.C. was tasked in November with investigating a leak of confidential Olympic Village documents during last fall’s civic election.

Peck said he chose to wait until a Criminal Code investigation by Vancouver police is concluded before tracing the leak but did review the adequacy of city policies and procedures.

“The oversight and accountability provisions in the Vancouver Code (of Conduct) are lacking,” Peck wrote in a report to council released on Tuesday.

He added that there are no prescribed penalties in the Vancouver Charter for breaking the Code of Conduct and that the code itself is “fundamentally flawed” because there is no independence from the city.

Among his recommendations is the hiring of a full, or part-time, independent ethics or integrity commissioner with duties and powers similar to Toronto’s integrity commissioner.

He also said that whenever a confidential report is prepared, staff should write a parallel public document – omitting the names of the parties involved – to give as much information to the public as possible.

Peck also recommended tighter security at in-camera meetings, including having councillors sign out documents and not allowing councillors to leave in-camera meetings until the documents are returned.