Stoney Creek councillor Conley cleared by audit committee after behind closed doors meeting

News May 12, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s Election Compliance Audit committee cleared Stoney Creek councillor Doug Conley of failing to properly fill out his financial expense forms from last fall’s municipal election calling it a “clerical error.”

But how the committee determined its ruling left some people upset about the lack of transparency at City Hall.

Ross Anderson, chair of the three-person committee, called Conley’s failure to properly fill out the required campaign finance form a “clerical error that should have been caught before the form was filed” to the city clerk’s office.

“We went through all the information we were given, did a double check back and forth to make sure everything agreed and we were satisfied what we were seeing,” Anderson told reporters.

Conley last week provided the committee with some financial information about his self-financed election campaign, where he spent over $17,000. During last week’s meeting the committee members were not satisfied with what they said was the limited information from the councillor and asked the Conley for more information.

Anderson said the committee received the additional financial documents from Conley prior to the May 12 committee meeting. Those documents included Conley’s credit card information, and banking statements that both Anderson and Conley said showed the councillor’s money being transferred from his personal account to his campaign account.

In his financial expense form filed to the city clerk’s office in March, Conley did not identify how much money he provided to his own campaign, nor did he reveal what expenses he incurred.

Stoney Creek resident, Cam Galindo, who finished third behind Conley in the Ward 9 municipal race, saw what he believed was an error and applied to the committee to review Conley’s election finances.

Conley and his accountant Ed Dillane both acknowledged their mistakes in not properly filling out the election document.

Within minutes of the May 12 meeting starting, the committee approved a motion to go in-camera. City solicitor Lisa Pasternak said the committee has the right to deliberate on the issue behind closed doors. She said the committee is acting in a similar fashion as to the city’s Licensing Tribunal.

After about 20 minutes the media and participants were invited back into the room where the committee announced its decision.

Anderson said the reason for the in-camera discussion was due to the “confidentiality” of the personal banking information provided by Conley.

“We can’t take a chance disclosing that into the public,” said Anderson, who was told by the solicitor the discussions had to be in-camera. “That’s private. You have to respect one’s privacy.”

Anderson said the committee reviewed the information and it “verified” Conley’s case.

Conley said his personal banking information “is none of your business” and he didn’t want to reveal his personal banking information to the public. But Conley said he didn’t ask to have the meeting held behind closed doors.

Conley used his credit card to purchase a few items for the campaign that did now show up in his personal and campaign accounts. He also provided that documentation to the committee.

The Stoney Creek politician acknowledged he made a mistake, and he doesn’t blame anybody else for not properly filling out the election finance form.

“It’s my fault, it’s not Cam’s fault,” said Conley. “He looked at it and found a mistake.”

Galindo, who used his legal name Sanchez to make the application, said while he was “satisfied” with the decision, he was disappointed the process wasn’t open to the public.

“The fact is the committee wasn’t completely transparent,” said Galindo, who when he made his application to the committee asked City Hall to be “open and transparent.”

“At the end of the day what I wanted was the election audit committee to consider the application,” said Galindo. “The committee took a look at my application and came to a decision, but there is always transparency that could be worked on. There is no way for us to truly know if there is anything wrong with Mr. Conley’s financial statements.”

Stoney Creek councillor Conley cleared by audit committee after behind closed doors meeting

News May 12, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s Election Compliance Audit committee cleared Stoney Creek councillor Doug Conley of failing to properly fill out his financial expense forms from last fall’s municipal election calling it a “clerical error.”

But how the committee determined its ruling left some people upset about the lack of transparency at City Hall.

Ross Anderson, chair of the three-person committee, called Conley’s failure to properly fill out the required campaign finance form a “clerical error that should have been caught before the form was filed” to the city clerk’s office.

“We went through all the information we were given, did a double check back and forth to make sure everything agreed and we were satisfied what we were seeing,” Anderson told reporters.

Conley last week provided the committee with some financial information about his self-financed election campaign, where he spent over $17,000. During last week’s meeting the committee members were not satisfied with what they said was the limited information from the councillor and asked the Conley for more information.

Anderson said the committee received the additional financial documents from Conley prior to the May 12 committee meeting. Those documents included Conley’s credit card information, and banking statements that both Anderson and Conley said showed the councillor’s money being transferred from his personal account to his campaign account.

In his financial expense form filed to the city clerk’s office in March, Conley did not identify how much money he provided to his own campaign, nor did he reveal what expenses he incurred.

Stoney Creek resident, Cam Galindo, who finished third behind Conley in the Ward 9 municipal race, saw what he believed was an error and applied to the committee to review Conley’s election finances.

Conley and his accountant Ed Dillane both acknowledged their mistakes in not properly filling out the election document.

Within minutes of the May 12 meeting starting, the committee approved a motion to go in-camera. City solicitor Lisa Pasternak said the committee has the right to deliberate on the issue behind closed doors. She said the committee is acting in a similar fashion as to the city’s Licensing Tribunal.

After about 20 minutes the media and participants were invited back into the room where the committee announced its decision.

Anderson said the reason for the in-camera discussion was due to the “confidentiality” of the personal banking information provided by Conley.

“We can’t take a chance disclosing that into the public,” said Anderson, who was told by the solicitor the discussions had to be in-camera. “That’s private. You have to respect one’s privacy.”

Anderson said the committee reviewed the information and it “verified” Conley’s case.

Conley said his personal banking information “is none of your business” and he didn’t want to reveal his personal banking information to the public. But Conley said he didn’t ask to have the meeting held behind closed doors.

Conley used his credit card to purchase a few items for the campaign that did now show up in his personal and campaign accounts. He also provided that documentation to the committee.

The Stoney Creek politician acknowledged he made a mistake, and he doesn’t blame anybody else for not properly filling out the election finance form.

“It’s my fault, it’s not Cam’s fault,” said Conley. “He looked at it and found a mistake.”

Galindo, who used his legal name Sanchez to make the application, said while he was “satisfied” with the decision, he was disappointed the process wasn’t open to the public.

“The fact is the committee wasn’t completely transparent,” said Galindo, who when he made his application to the committee asked City Hall to be “open and transparent.”

“At the end of the day what I wanted was the election audit committee to consider the application,” said Galindo. “The committee took a look at my application and came to a decision, but there is always transparency that could be worked on. There is no way for us to truly know if there is anything wrong with Mr. Conley’s financial statements.”

Stoney Creek councillor Conley cleared by audit committee after behind closed doors meeting

News May 12, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s Election Compliance Audit committee cleared Stoney Creek councillor Doug Conley of failing to properly fill out his financial expense forms from last fall’s municipal election calling it a “clerical error.”

But how the committee determined its ruling left some people upset about the lack of transparency at City Hall.

Ross Anderson, chair of the three-person committee, called Conley’s failure to properly fill out the required campaign finance form a “clerical error that should have been caught before the form was filed” to the city clerk’s office.

“We went through all the information we were given, did a double check back and forth to make sure everything agreed and we were satisfied what we were seeing,” Anderson told reporters.

Conley last week provided the committee with some financial information about his self-financed election campaign, where he spent over $17,000. During last week’s meeting the committee members were not satisfied with what they said was the limited information from the councillor and asked the Conley for more information.

Anderson said the committee received the additional financial documents from Conley prior to the May 12 committee meeting. Those documents included Conley’s credit card information, and banking statements that both Anderson and Conley said showed the councillor’s money being transferred from his personal account to his campaign account.

In his financial expense form filed to the city clerk’s office in March, Conley did not identify how much money he provided to his own campaign, nor did he reveal what expenses he incurred.

Stoney Creek resident, Cam Galindo, who finished third behind Conley in the Ward 9 municipal race, saw what he believed was an error and applied to the committee to review Conley’s election finances.

Conley and his accountant Ed Dillane both acknowledged their mistakes in not properly filling out the election document.

Within minutes of the May 12 meeting starting, the committee approved a motion to go in-camera. City solicitor Lisa Pasternak said the committee has the right to deliberate on the issue behind closed doors. She said the committee is acting in a similar fashion as to the city’s Licensing Tribunal.

After about 20 minutes the media and participants were invited back into the room where the committee announced its decision.

Anderson said the reason for the in-camera discussion was due to the “confidentiality” of the personal banking information provided by Conley.

“We can’t take a chance disclosing that into the public,” said Anderson, who was told by the solicitor the discussions had to be in-camera. “That’s private. You have to respect one’s privacy.”

Anderson said the committee reviewed the information and it “verified” Conley’s case.

Conley said his personal banking information “is none of your business” and he didn’t want to reveal his personal banking information to the public. But Conley said he didn’t ask to have the meeting held behind closed doors.

Conley used his credit card to purchase a few items for the campaign that did now show up in his personal and campaign accounts. He also provided that documentation to the committee.

The Stoney Creek politician acknowledged he made a mistake, and he doesn’t blame anybody else for not properly filling out the election finance form.

“It’s my fault, it’s not Cam’s fault,” said Conley. “He looked at it and found a mistake.”

Galindo, who used his legal name Sanchez to make the application, said while he was “satisfied” with the decision, he was disappointed the process wasn’t open to the public.

“The fact is the committee wasn’t completely transparent,” said Galindo, who when he made his application to the committee asked City Hall to be “open and transparent.”

“At the end of the day what I wanted was the election audit committee to consider the application,” said Galindo. “The committee took a look at my application and came to a decision, but there is always transparency that could be worked on. There is no way for us to truly know if there is anything wrong with Mr. Conley’s financial statements.”