Council members, mayor cleared of closed meeting allegation

A handful of Dryden councillors have been cleared of an accusation of holding a closed meeting.

Paul Heayn, closed meeting investigator, handled the complaint, made by Darren Trist.
“Mr. Trist’s complaint centered around a meeting that was held on August 15, 2018 at the
Holiday Inn, Dryden, ON,” Heayn wrote in the report. “Mr. Trist was told by a third party that five Dryden council members and ‘a few candidates were seen exiting a hotel conference room.’

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“He stated in his complaint that ‘it is my understanding that no more than three councillors could be present to discuss municipal matters without having minutes taken by a city employee.’ He found the meeting ‘very suspect, especially when the other two councillors had no idea a meeting was planned.’”

Trist first took his complaint to the Ontario Ombudsman who directed it back to the city.
Heayn found that Councillor Beyak arranged an information meeting regarding election
campaigning, featuring Tanis Drysdale, a Fort Frances resident experienced in campaigning. Not all councillors were invited to the meeting, and Heayn found that municipal business was not discussed. 

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“It is clear to me that the meeting held on August 15th , 2018 in which five members of the
Dryden council were in attendance, was not a council meeting,” he wrote.

“I am quite confident that there was no municipal business discussed at this meeting. The meeting was a private meeting where invitees, friends and colleagues attended at the favour of those arranging the training session on how to run a municipal campaign. The organizer(s) are quite within their rights to invite whomever they want.”

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