The soft spoken Santucci remained calm and focused as he fielded questions that sometimes sounded like challenges. Clr. Clark asked Santucci what his background in accounting was and queried the delegation's request for a forensic accounting. Gary seemed to handle these questions with ease.
Clr. Whitehead asked whether Santucci had a grasp of the mandate of the HWT, suggesting that the HWT was not focused on making profit, as per their non profit mandate. Santucci again handled the question aptly.
Clr. Ferguson conceded that he never received a clear answer to questions he had with respect to HWT's GST remittance issues, but said that he conversed with Roberto Rossini who had staff assess the situation. As the Clr. was told that there is nothing that can be done at this point about the matter, he was prepared to move beyond it.
Perhaps the most interesting exchange was between Clr. Merulla and Santucci. The Clr. attempted to systematically address, challenge or dismiss the delegation's stated concerns (which were detailed in a slide deck). Merulla often called on the help of city staff to answer related questions. As Merulla spoke to most components of the expressed concerns, he concluded by stating "So, that's off the table"
However, it is not clear that all or any of Merulla's responses were satisfactory. For example when speaking about a number of years that financials were not submitted, Merulla noted that the missing years of financials were eventually remitted and thus the matter, according to Merulla, was "off the table". Merulla's position however seemed to gloss over the years of financials not being submitted in a timely manner, and the significance of that. In the context of Santucci's focus on oversight and accountability, Merulla's argument seemed to miss the mark.
Clr. Farr almost sounded as though he was in cross examination mode, when he asked Santucci whether he thought there was any fraud in play at the HWT. Santucci was surprised by the question, as nowhere in his submission did any such allegation appear. Nonetheless, Clr. Farr pressed for an answer to which Santucci answered, regardless of its seeming inappropriateness to the delegation- which Santucci signalled.
Following the delegation, the HWT made a presentation as to what they have achieved. Santucci noted that noone has suggested that the HWT did not make progress or that the changes at the waterfront are not adding value. The questions is, and seems to remain, one of oversight and accountability .
The Hamiltonian strongly suggests that our readers view the GIC session first hand, so as to make their own judgment as how this delegation was handled by council members of GIC. It should appear on this page : click here