Mayor Bratina Hopes Ombudsman Oversight Can Help Fix City Hall's Toxic Culture Crisis

Mayor Bob Bratina tells The Toronto Star that he is in favour of expanding the oversight of Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin to include municipalities.

Bratina cites the City’s problems with openness and transparency, and the toxic culture problems that Council has been unable to address.

Bratina’s statements are noteworthy for a couple of reasons.

That the Mayor is publicly acknowledging the City’s toxic culture in such direct language reveals his frustration at the systematic problems Council hasn’t been able to successfully address.

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#### Facts Prove Toxic Culture

25.7% of staff self-report they’ve been pressured to compromise their ethics and values, more than half say they fear retaliation if they report wrong doing, and the majority say senior management is not properly enforcing the code of conduct.

The recent HSR sexual harassment scandal is a textbook example of all that’s wrong with how City Hall manages culture, with a vicious character assassination campaign launched against the victim by City management instead of addressing the problem.

The arbitrator in the sexual harassment dispute did not hide their disgust with the City’s handling of the matter, finding – among numerous failings by the highest levels of City management – qualified women were not applying for management out of fear of losing union protection against sexual harassment. (Until 2013, this large division had never hired a female into the ranks of management. Only after the ruling have women been hired into management)

Will Bratina Be Punished for Speaking in Favour of Oversight?

Bratina’s position is contrary to Council’s position as expressed by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

The AMO is fighting with all its resources against the transparency and accountability that Ombudsman oversight will bring.

There is no higher priority for the AMO.

Council could choose to censure Bratina for taking this position.

When will Marin’s Mandate Begin?

The Bill to extend Ombudsman oversight was reintroduced in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday. It will now go to Committee for hearings, and if all goes well, pass in the fall.