Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Integrity Matters- With George Rust-D'Eye

In this edition of Integrity Matters, The Hamiltonian decided to check in with the new Integrity Commissioner/Lobbyist Registrar, George Rust -D'Eye. Here is our Q/A with George:

Can you describe what activities and work you have been doing since your assuming the roles of Integrity Commissioner and Lobbyist Registrar? Specifically, what work has been done to date?’

As in the case of all municipal powers and responsibilities, the positions of Integrity Commissioner and Lobbyist Registrar, and the authority of municipal councils to appoint such accountability officers, are created under statutes of the Province of Ontario.

City Council has, by By-law, appointed me as the City’s Integrity Commissioner and Lobbyist Registrar, for terms commencing on May 1, 2015.

The Performance of my Responsibilities as Integrity Commissioner

During the period following my appointment as Integrity Commissioner, I have performed the responsibilities of that office, as conferred and imposed upon me by the Provincial and Municipal legislation referred to above. In the course of carrying out my duties, I have conducted the following activities and work:

-provided information and advice to Members of City Council, relating to the provisions of the Code of Conduct and its effect on their role as Councillors;

-engaged in frequent and ongoing meetings and discussions with Councillors, and with City staff, particularly the City Clerk and the City Solicitor, relating to the exercise of the responsibilities of my office; attended at Council and committee meetings; and received information from, and met with, persons seeking information as to the application of the Code of Conduct, complaining about, or objecting to, the alleged conduct of a Member of Council, and/or requesting that I conduct an inquiry into such conduct and impose or recommend sanctions for contravention of the Code. (such latter persons I will refer to generally as “complainants”);

-interviewed complainants, Members of Council whose alleged conduct has been the subject-matter of a complaint, query or request for inquiry, arranged for interviews with witnesses and others whose knowledge or information is relevant to the matter, and reviewed documentation relating to the complaint in each case.

I have not, to date, found the need to conduct a full inquiry concerning a complaint against a Council Member.

In carrying out my responsibilities, I have considered and taken into account:

-the need to make an initial determination of whether, assuming the allegations of fact to be true, such conduct could involve contravention of the Code of Conduct;

-the need to deal with each complaint in as expeditious a manner as possible;

-the desirability of understanding, and seeking and taking into account input from parties to the complaint, and attempting to arrive at a mutually-satisfactory resolution of the complaint, if such is possible; and

-my responsibility and power to not proceed with an inquiry if the complaint is trivial, frivolous or vexatious,, does not relate to a municipal matter or interest, actually involves alleged breach of the Criminal Code, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, the Municipal Elections Act, or other federal or provincial legislation, or where it is not in the public interest to proceed or deal further with the complaint.

How many complaints have you received since assuming your roles of Integrity Commissioner and Lobbyist Registrar, and what is the status of any such complaints?

My response is: nine specific complaints or requests for advice, and a number of additional contacts and queries.

On September 2, 2015, I provided a Report to the Council’s General Issues Committee, in which I reported that I had received three specific queries and complaints up to that time.

Since the delivery of that Report, I have dealt with six additional queries and complaints.

During the period in question, I also received, and replied to, numerous requests from Members of Council and others, for information and advice relating to the operation of the Council’s Code of Conduct and the manner in which I would or might, deal with complaints as Integrity commissioner.

At the present time, there are no pending or outstanding complaints or requests for advice under either my Integrity Commissioner or Lobbyist Registrar jurisdictions

The Establishment of the Lobbyist Registry, and the Performance of my Duties as Lobbyist Registrar

The Lobbyist Registration regime for the City of Hamilton came into force as of August 1, 2015.

“The purpose of the Lobbyist Registry is to enable individuals and businesses to register when they are going to lobby public office holders, and allows citizens to view who is communicating with City of Hamilton public office holders. Registering lobbying activities online is simple and emphasizes government accountability and transparency. In addition to its overall transparency and accessibility, the implementation of the Registry tool aligns with the City’s Values and Strategic Priorities.” (quote from the City’s News Release, July 31, 2015)

At the outset of my term as Lobbyist registrar, I drafted forms for Lobbyist Registration, Notice to the Public, and other documentation and procedures for the implementation of Council’s adoption of the lobbyist registry system.

To date, I have not yet found it necessary to undertake an inquiry or proceedings against any person for alleged contravention of the Lobbyist Registry By-law; in fact, I believe that I have received co-operation from Members of Council and lobbyists alike.

Since the coming into effect of the By-law, I have held a number of education and training sessions for Members of Council, staff, and members of the public, providing guidance and information relating to the operation of the By-law, and my administration of it as Lobbyist Registrar, as well as individual discussions with Members who have contacted me directly.

During the course of my duties, I have been in regular and continuing contact with the Program Coordinator, and other City staff, including the City Clerk and the City Solicitor and their respective staffs.

To date, there have been 31 lobbyist registrations filed with the City under the Lobbyist By-law, all of which are publicly accessible online, with particulars in each case, as required by the By-law.

The foregoing is a summary of the activities and work that I have performed as Integrity Commissioner and as Lobbyist Registrar, for the City of Hamilton, and the complaints or requests with respect to compliance with the City’s Code of Conduct for Members of Council which I have dealt with during my term in the office of Integrity Commissioner.

Is there anything else you would like Hamiltonians to know about how you have been serving their interests?

I would like to draw to the attention of Hamiltonians the fact that the City Of Hamilton, its elected municipal government, recognizes its role, and practices, as an open, transparent, accessible and accountable form of local government, to the extent possible and in accordance with the law, and encourages its citizens to understand the responsibilities of Members of Council, and the City as a whole, to comply with the words, spirit and intent of the City’s By-laws and be answerable to the public and its electorate, made more effective through the work of its Accountability Officers.

I would also draw to the attention of the public, and of City Council, the various documents that the City of Hamilton has issued, all of which are available online and from the City Clerk, outlining the steps and procedures involved in making a complaint under the City’s By-laws, and I would encourage members of the public who believe that there has been a contravention of the Code of conduct, to proceed with the making of such a complaint.

As Integrity Commissioner and Lobbyist Registrar, I regard as my highest and most important responsibilities, to educate and train the Council and the City administration, in the requirements of its accountability and transparency legislation, and to respond appropriately to every complaint and request for information, in order to implement properly the City’s By-laws, in the public interest.

I have provided a copy of this email to the City Clerk and the City Solicitor, with the request that a copy be provided to each of the Members of Council.

George Rust-D’Eye,
Integrity Commissioner and Lobbyist Registrar for the City of Hamilton

Thank-you George for engaging with Hamiltonians on The Hamiltonian . Note : The Lobbysist Registry can be searched by clicking here. 


  1. Thanks to TH and Mr. Rust d-Eye for this information. I think it was a great check in. The only concern I have is when he said "
    I would like to draw to the attention of Hamiltonians the fact that the City Of Hamilton, its elected municipal government, recognizes its role, and practices, as an open, transparent, accessible and accountable form of local government, to the extent possible and in accordance with the law, and encourages its citizens to understand the responsibilities of Members of Council, and the City as a whole, to comply with the words, spirit and intent of the City’s By-laws and be answerable to the public and its electorate, made more effective through the work of its Accountability Officers."

    What we really do not need is a IC who has a favourable bias about the people he is suppossed to be monitoring. If this is the case, this position will be another waste. I wish i could be more positive but this really turned me off.

  2. Great info. Thank-you. I hope Mr. Rustdye does a better job,

  3. It looks like Larry DiIanni is making a living as a lobbyiest. Is that why he supported Esienberger? So he can get his ear?

    1. If I remember correctly, Dianni was part of eisenbergers transition team when he got elected and got paid.

  4. My concern was when he said "I have not, to date, found the need to conduct a full inquiry concerning a complaint against a Council Member" yet he's received 9 Complaints. Guess he dismissed them all? And 9 seems high based on previous years.

  5. Where's the integrity? How can there be any when the IC reports to the very people that hire him. Would you bite the hand that feeds you? Drop the position, save our money, and let the ratepayers keep these councillor accountable. It should be up to the taxpayers to be able to select their own panel to address complaints. I believe there would be a change in culture and behavour at City Hall if this were to happen. I encourage everyone to press their councillor and the Mayor to make this happen.


    1. Eisenberger has egg all over his face on this one.

  6. As I am one of the 9 complainants referenced, I thought I would share my personal experirence
    When Mr. Merulla declared "today I am taking a moron to court" I was personally offended and inspired to test the new Commissioner. I believe Merulla's comment was intended to offend,an attempt to intimidate,was prejudicial and formed a clear and obvious breach of the code of conduct he has sworn to uphold.
    I advised Mr. Merulla of my concerns directly, requesting a public apology, and received no response.
    After having my documents properly notarized, I stood in line at City Hall for 90 minutes awaiting a Clerk to receive my complaint, I paid my $100.00 fee and waited
    I did not wait long.3 days in I received an official document from Mr.Rust D'eye which was prepared for submission to Council. In it he states "I believe that should I find that following an inquiry into a complaint, that a Councillor did in fact refer to a citizen as "a moron" in public and.or knowing that it could be published, such could be found to constitute a contravention of the City's code of conduct, and be reported to Council accordingly.
    Later the same day I received further communication stating "I have now been advised thart some of the statements in my report are not supported by facts,and that following the state of affairs and potential for litigation which existed at the time of the creation of the documentation on which I relied, changes have occurred, which lead me to decide to recall my report,and amend it to reflect the facts as I now understand them. Accordingly,I request that you return the report to me, and not forward it to Council. I will conduct further inquiries and revise the report, or draft a new one and provide it to Council
    The following day I received my last communication from the I/C stating "while I do not believe the complaint was frivolous or vexatious, there is simply not sufficient grounds suggesting a prima facie contravention of the Code of Conduct to justify my conducting further inquiry into the matter at this time"
    I find Mr. Rust D'Eye's evolution in this regard to be revealing and disturbing. It appears someone has reminded him of his "real" obligation in this sort of undertaking.My follow-up questions i.e "did you question Mr. Merulla" were ignored.
    The experience has confirmed some suspicions.Mr Rust D'Eye appears far more efficient than his predecessor, albeit with a similar mandate-mitigate risk to Council members, he is not in place to serve "us" As for Mr. Merulla it appears his assertion to take on all comers only applied to respectful, law abiding females.
    So no real surprises
    I would be happy to forward all communication for your review

    1. So now we know that in Hamilton, it is fine for a Councillor to call someone a moron. Also, it is fine for a councllor to assualt a reporter by pushing them. Don't you have any shame??????

    2. Why is the mainstream media not picking up on what is so obvious?

    3. I'm a little lost for words here. I'm truly humbled that someone I've never met would go to such trouble and I truly Thank You! And yes please, I would definitely like to see the full communication.
      Viv Saunders

    4. @Jim Graham Kudos to you! A very dissapointing response indeed. Then you wonder why Hamilton is a lughing stock. I think we should cease the I.C. position immediately.

    5. Mr. Graham. Have you written to The Hamilton Spectator about this issue? You should. It seems like The Hamiltonian is the omly place around here that is asking some good questions. Its too bad it is not our main paper. But send a letter to the spec and ask The Hamiltonian to host it as well. Let's see if The Spectator will do their job or whether they are also part of a big problem we face here in Hamilton

    6. Mr. Graham. Ask the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate this mater and the ICs response to it.

    7. Thank-you Sorce,
      Although I did not contact them directly, I can say with certainty that the Spec is aware. It is my opinion that there are employees at the Spec. who view Mr.Merulla as the proverbial "golden goose", a gift that just keep's on providing.I do not anticipate any "assistance" from anyone on Frid Steet.
      I do believe that the Ombudsman suggestion has merit, and I intend to request their assistance in January once their mandate is invoked to help determine "which statements are not supported by facts" and what "changes" occurred which resulted in the recall of the original report (since George has demonstrated no interest in addressing these same questions) My concern is that the office may refuse to get involved, since we have our own complaint resolution mechanism in place.(?)
      But, who knows-perhaps they will surprise us. I will keep you posted as to progress
      Merry Christmas

    8. You are right about them likely referring the amttrer back. But, as I understand it, your core complaint- that a sitting councillor referred to someone as a moron, remains undealt with. So, re-raise ti with the Integrity Commissioner. It does not hurt that The Hamiltonian is paying attention to this.

  7. IMHO this position continues to be a huge waste of taxpayers money. So lomng as council has anything influence over this position or this position reports info to council, it is doomed. The oly way it would work is if the position reported to ordinary Hamiltonians, or a trusted source in Hamilton - hint

  8. So Hamiltonians have ANOTHER council lapdog paid for by tax dollars to protect them from all oversight. He regards his highest and most important responsibility to educate and train council ... Pathetic considering who is footing the bill. Another piggie at the trough.


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