According to the privacy act, confidentiality is required if the third party will be exposed unfairly to financial or other harm; also the personal information has been supplied in confidence; and the disclosure may unfairly damage the reputation of any person referred to in the record requested by the applicant. Photo: Times file

According to the privacy act, confidentiality is required if the third party will be exposed unfairly to financial or other harm; also the personal information has been supplied in confidence; and the disclosure may unfairly damage the reputation of any person referred to in the record requested by the applicant. Photo: Times file

City nixes Trail council motion to release third-party report

Coun. Robert Cacchioni also questioned why he wasn’t, as a third party, consulted during the process.

The release of the “Findings and Recommendations” section of the Southern Butler Price Investigative Report will not be forthcoming.

That one-page portion of a third party investigation involving a breach of conduct by Trail Coun. Robert Cacchioni and the ensuing departure of the city’s Chief Administrative Officer, David Perehudoff, was denied release by the freedom of information head, Corporate Administrator, Michelle McIsaac.

After consulting legal advice, McIsaac informed the Times that: “… One or more of the requested records contains information that may affect the interests of third parties and we have given those parties the opportunity to make representation concerning disclosure.

“In response to our third party notice, it has been requested that the records be kept confidential, which must be taken into consideration in my review.”

Cacchioni questioned the decision at the Governance and Operations Committee meeting Oct. 25.

“I have no objections to releasing the findings and recommendations,” Cacchioni told the Times.

Following a public plea for transparency, city council made a motion to release the full report at a June 28 council meeting. Although that initial motion was defeated, Coun. Cacchioni later made a motion to have the “findings and recommendations” portion of the document released and that was agreed to unanimously.

However, McIsaac informed council that privacy laws regarding public employees take precedence.

“Although there was a motion of council passed for the release, your motion cannot circumvent the freedom of information and protection of privacy requirements.”

Cacchioni also questioned why he wasn’t, as a third party, consulted during the process.

“I don’t have any problem at all releasing it,” he said. “So I don’t know if my wishes were taken into account because nothing is going to be released.”

Cacchioni continued, saying there are sections in the recommendations that have no impact on him or the other third party.

Coun. Carol Dobie also pursued the line of questioning, asking why the information regarding the conflict between Cacchioni and Perehudoff was sent out in a city press release in the first place.

Because the discussion involved a city employee who was still under contract, McIsaac recommended convening to a private session.

The Times had requested a redacted copy of the document through the freedom of information and protection of privacy act but was denied.

According to the privacy act, confidentiality is required if the third party will be exposed unfairly to financial or other harm; also the personal information has been supplied in confidence; and the disclosure may unfairly damage the reputation of any person referred to in the record requested by the applicant.

“In consideration of the above-noted principles and given the level of knowledge in the local community of the identities of the third parties involved, this will serve to advise that the confidential workplace investigative report will not be disclosed as I would be unable to sever the document in such a way as to protect the third party’s privacy,” wrote McIsaac.

The expected costs to the city may come in well over $300,000 which includes legal fees and a contract settlement with the former CAO that pays him until June, 30 of 2022.

The Times also asked the city about the additional cost of consulting legal advice for the most recent inquiry, and why the city did not maintain confidentiality throughout the process? The Times has not received a reply.

City of Trail