City Responds to Inaccurate and Damaging Headline
For Immediate Release
Public Relations Manager
Hamilton – February 15, 2022
The Corporation of Hamilton wishes to respond to the incorrect and damaging headline in yesterday’s print edition of the Royal Gazette regarding legal fees incurred in 2021 for the Corporation’s ongoing legal cases.
The Royal Gazette’s headline ‘City Owes Millions in Legal Fees’ is completely false. The Corporation of Hamilton does not owe any monies for legal fees. In fact, the Corporation is debt free, as per our audited financial statement which was released to the media and published to our website in June of last year. To repeat, the Corporation currently has no debt; despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly lowered our revenue streams for 2020.
The Corporation is held accountable to its rate payers, and we are proud and obligated to operate with fiscal prudence and engage in transparent processes.
In a bid to remain transparent, and to meet our legislative requirements under the Public Access to Information mandate (Section 6) which states:
“Public authorities shall cause to be published in the Gazette on a regular basis details of every contract entered into by the authority that has a total value of $50,000 or more, including the name of the contractor, the monetary value of the contract, the goods and services to be provided under the contract and the time for performance of the contract (completion or delivery date)”
the City published our legal fees in the Official Gazette on February 8th, 2022, which show the monies paid for legal fees in 2021 to three firms:
- Marshall, Diel and Myers - $1,008,323 (legal fees towards the MIF cases (Bda & USA) and the constitutional challenge)
- Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP - $520,853.52 (MIF case (USA))
- Blackstone Chambers - $257,234 (constitutional challenge)
It should be noted that we set aside money for legal challenges; these fees were nothing that we did not expect and plan for accordingly. Additionally, although these were not contractual services per se and therefore we were not obligated under PATI to disclose them, we did so in the spirit of openness and transparency.
Mayor Charles Gosling stated: “This administration has a sound reputation for fiscal responsibility and transparency. Within two Council meetings of being elected Mayor in 2009, the Council, under my direction, opened its regular meetings to the public. Since then, the public has been able to attend and make presentations at these meetings to share their concerns or potential opportunities with the City.
“Additionally, the Corporation publishes its annual budget prior to the year in question committing ourselves to a course of action. Any changes to the budget during the year are also published, with the Council being made aware of the changes and the Minister of Public Works approving those changes. The financial statements are audited and published within six months of the year end. We ensure that when it is an election year, the results are published prior to the election, which they will be this May.
“Lastly, the Corporation follows government guidelines on the issuance of RFP’s and the acceptance of and awarding of contracts. The bidders are asked to be present when the bid box is opened, at which point all the bids are read out, a written record of which is then signed by attending witnesses and filed. The awarding bid is confirmed by committee, Council and the Minister of Public Works and is then published. The names of the losing applicants are also published as a part of the committee meeting minutes.
“The Corporation is debt free, owing nothing to anyone at this point in time.”
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