Rivette boycotts governance session

By Greg Kielec Cornwall Electric customer’s rates will in- crease 2.78 per cent effective July 1. Michael Pescod, regional manager of Corn- wall Electric, attributed the moderate in- crease to price increases in the long-term wholesale electricity supply contracts nego- tiated with Hydro Quebec. A typical residential customer using 800 kWH per month will see their monthly bill increase by $2.68. With two long-term contracts in place, it is projected that future annual price adjust- ments will average at or near inflation until 2019. Cornwall Electric eligible residential and small business customers will continue to re- ceive the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit which will save 10 per cent on their electricity costs. “Like all other utilities in Ontario, the cost of electricity in Cornwall is passed through to its customers. The long-term contracts with Hydro Quebec provide rate stability and security for the remaining contract term to December 2019,” said Pescod. “Cornwall Electric rates compare favorably to surround- ing electrical utilities”. The wholesale cost of electricity represents more than 80 per cent of the customer’s total bill. The remaining represents the distribu- tion charges. T he distribution charges pay for Cornwall Electric to deliver power safely and reliably from the Cedars Rapids Transmission lines to the customers’ homes and businesses and to provide for system maintenance and cap- ital equipment replacement. Cornwall Elec- tric will invest approximately seven million dollars in system expansions and capital re- placements in 2012. Cornwall Electric customers do not pay the debt retirement charge paid by the majority of customers in Ontario. Cornwall Electric rates rising

By Greg Kielec

When Cornwall city council held the first of two public governance sessions last Wednesday afternoon, one councillor was conspicuously absent. Councillor Andre Rivette, who has been critical of decisions by senior administration in city hall regarding recent personnel is- sues, did not attend the two days of ses- sions. Rivette, in an interview late Wednesday af- ternoon, said he believes there are “confi- dence issues” with senior administration that cannot be resolved through a few gov- ernance sessions. “I think governance is not the problem.” The veteran politician was critical of senior administration, council members and Mayor Bob Kilger for a lack of transparency and accountability, two things he believes are owed to city taxpayers. “And you’ve got to get away from the tail wagging the dog. Council has to set out the rules. They have to set out what is your au- thority and what’s not your authority.” The city announced the sessions in a press just hours before an introductory session on “The Keys to Sound Governance” by munic- ipal governance consultant George Cuff on Wednesday. Over the course of the two days, Cuff led a series of sessions on the elements of a strong governance system, developing the council- administration relationship, creating effec- tive organizations and team-building. "This exercise will serve to strengthen the relationship between council and adminis- tration," said Mayor Bob Kilger in a press re- lease announcing the exercise. "Mr. Cuff has a wealth of experience in municipal government affairs and we are sure to benefit from his insight and experi- ence." The governance sessions were origi- nally to be held late last year, after the city pleaded guilty to retaliating against whistle- blower Diane Shay and was criticized in a human rights judgment involving former fi- nance employee Marie Anne Pilon. The two cases cost the city thousands in

Photo by Greg Kielec Cornwall city councillor Andre Rivette, shown in this file photo, refused to attend two days of governance sessions held by the city last Wednesday and Thursday.

was breaking rules for closed meetings. “Is this going to change? I’m told it is,” Rivette said. “I’m going to wait and see.” He touched on the resignation of former councillor Leslie O’Shaughnessy earlier this year over frustration with closed meetings and a lack of information from senior ad- ministration, and said he understands “ex- actly” what the veteran of municipal politics was going through. “Leslie’s way was to resign but I can’t do that,” Rivette said. “They’re going to carry me out in a box.” He also touched on CAO Paul Fitzpatrick’s sick leave, and how council members were kept in the dark about the CAO’s sudden re- turn to work last Monday. “We weren’t even advised of him showing up so we had no knowledge,” Rivette com- plained.

fines and compensation and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Rivette was recently vindicated by closed meeting investigator Stephen Fournier after he was berated during a Feb. 27 closed council session for a video interview he did with The Cornwall Free News. There was no official apology from Kilger or council, despite Fournier’s ruling council had acted improperly. But that does not bother Riv- ette. “If they followed the rules and the recom- mendations of the investigator, I’d be more than happy,” he said in a candid interview at The Journal. “The damage has been done and I’m ready just to move on as long as you’re ready to move on with these recommendations.” And he said he would not hesitate to call in the investigator again if he felt council

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