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Peck report on leaked documents: Your system sucks

March 23rd, 2009 · 4 Comments

Okay, he put it in more lawyerly language than that, but essentially that’s what Richard Peck said about Vancouver’s “code of conduct,” its definition of “confidentiality” and its whole process for reporting on misconduct at the city. It’s in his eight-page report due out tomorrow on what to do about the city’s in-camera meetings, in the wake of all the information that was leaked about the Olympic village finances that came from those meetings. (I’ll put in the link once it’s up on the website. In the meantime, here’s the link to my Globe story.)

One of his main points: There is no independent system for reporting problems because any problems of misconduct among elected people have to be reported to the mayor — a problem in a city with a party system and unworkable if the misconduct is by the way.

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  • Irony

    How do you feel about Mr. Peck’s report given that you are on the receiving end of so many leaks (including, apparently and ironically, Mr. Peck’s report)?

  • fbula

    Before responding to the main point you make, I should note that Peck is talking about leaks of in-camera/confidential information. Just getting an advance copy of a report that’s going to be posted a few hours later doesn’t fall under what he’s talking about. To my knowledge, btw, the Sun, Courier and Georgia Straight all got the report around the same time. There’s a difference, by the way, between leaking and strategic media decisions on making sure media who follow issues closely get information in time for a particular deadline.

    As for the main point — I’d welcome some clarity and consistency. I used to talk to people about what happened at in-camera meetings (most notably, when the city decided to sue the Walls over the dark glass on their tower) but over the years, Judy Rogers warned them so repeatedly about the grave consequences of what would happen if they talked about in-camera stuff that people got totally confused and erratic about what they would be willing to say. I can’t tell you how many times I had councillors and political staffers on the other end of the line, quite unsure of whether they could even tell me there had been a meeting on a subject. The prevailing atmosphere seemed to be so cautious that people were hesitant about saying perfectly innocuous things.

    If there were some clear rules and a commitment to making information public as soon as the need for secrecy was over, it would be better for both the public and the media.

  • blaffergassted

    It’s too bad that Mr Peck is only looking at the problems in Vancouver. I’m (not) guessing that other cities have similar woes.

  • T W

    We would better served if there was not only a code of conduct for use of materials from in-camera meetings, but there was also a clear definition of the type of in-camera meetings that are held. Surely , not all those meetings are totally closed until Doomsday.

    As far as I can tell, staff used in-camera meetings as much to protect the taxpayers interests as to make life at City Hall that bit more opaque.