With special thanks to our friends at The Hamilton Spectator, here is a link to Integrity Commissioner Earl Basse's investigation report on the complaint filed against Mayor Bob Bratina, by Brian Hatch. Click here.
In a nutshell, 3 out of the 4 allegations made by Mr. Hatch were unsubstantiated. In other words, Mr. Basse did not find evidence to substantiate 3 of the 4 allegations. While 3 of the 4 allegations effectively failed to be proven, Mr. Hatch's complaint was not deemed to be vexatious.
Mayor Bratina was found to have violated section 3(2) b of the code of conduct by "providing erroneous information to the Spectator Editorial Board which had the potential of injuring the professional or ethical reputation of the City of Hamilton Human Resources staff had it not been for council's pursuit of the matter and the trust and confidence they expressed in the City of Hamilton Human Resources Staff"
Basse however also stated that he did not find that the Mayor did so maliciously or with a deliberate attempt to mislead the editorial board or to discredit the professional or ethical reputation of the City of Hamilton Human Resources staff.
The Hamiltonian has underlined this section (it was not underlined in Basse's report). We did so to ensure that this matter is reported on in a fair and balanced manner. We also acknowledge that council is to be thanked for pursuing this matter.
In the end, Bratina's lack of malicious intent does not excuse the error he made. The lack of intent does not justify the potential impact that this error may have had, but it does help to understand the nature of this mistake.
Mr. Basse issued a repirmand against Mayor Bratina on the substantiated allegation. What form that reprimand will take is not clear. It may simply take the form of a notation on the report itself. Mr. Hatch will receive a refund of the fee he paid to file the complaint.
You may recall that we did an opinion piece on April 1, 2012 assessing this matter. it is found here. It may be worth a re-read. We continue to stand by it and it seems largely consistent with Mr. Basse's report.
Note: The Mayor's response is here. It is repeated below, as per an email that The Hamiltonian received from the Mayor's Chief of Staff, providing the mayor's response:
As the Mayor of the City of Hamilton I want residents to know that I accept Mr. Basse's findings. I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to read through the entire report to fully inform themselves of its conclusions, in particular the finding that there was no "malicious or deliberate act by Mayor Bratina to mislead the Spectator Editorial Board or to discredit the professional or ethical reputation of the City's Human Resource staff." I have the utmost respect and confidence in our staff and the professionalism they bring to their work. This process as laid out by Council has resulted in clarification of the matters in question and now puts them to rest.