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Published on Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Election whistleblower's censored email

Contents of election clerk's email to Council

To: Members of Council
Subject: Election

Due to certain events I mention in the attached memo, I feel morally compelled to forward it directly to you for your information:

Cathie,

I am writing this in response to your request at the conclusion of our election meeting on Friday morning. I was surprised when this election meeting seemed to become more like a performance review in its tone and scope. You said I did not "manage" the election; the election had been managed by Kim Galione. You then expanded this to include not only the election, but that I was not effectively managing the freedom of information process, the customer service staff nor even the telephone switchboard. You further indicated you believed the reason for all this non-managing behaviour is that I am "lazy but intelligent". I take strong exception to being called 'lazy'.

When election planning was initiated and the time came to hire the election Coordinator and after we discussed the job candidates, I conducted interviews along with Chantal Wigg from Human Resources. One of the candidates, Kim Galione, is your friend and I understand why it was important for you to appear to remain at arms length from the hiring process for the Election Coordinator. When Kim became the successful candidate and was hired, I assumed she was reporting to me and I proceeded to guide Kim as she learned how to fulfill the coordinator role. I can say with considerable pride that I have made every effort to manage the election and manage the various responsibilities I have in the department. I have endeavoured to ensure the election process was carried out according to legal and regulatory requirements and with community expectations in mind, including the prudent use of financial resources.

You indicated that people did not see me s the manager of the election process and at first I could not understand how that could be, however after telling me that you thought Kim was managing the election it makes sense now. It also explains why the Information Technology staff went to Kim for many decisions. It seems you informed others that Kim was the manager while I was unaware of this. I would appreciate it, in the future, if you would please tell me that you have switched management responsibilities so that myself, as well as other staff will not be confused about who reports to who.


...based on considerable evidence ... in my opinion we cannot confidently say who won the race for Mayor...
It seems to me a strange coincidence that you are only now raising this issue of managing the election and only after I have sent you a number of e-mails since the election on November 10th, regarding irregularities on election day and afterwards and only after stating my belief, based on considerable evidence, that in my opinion we cannot confidently say who won the race for Mayor.

Concerns which I have previously communicated to you, in addition to other concerns I feel are relevant, and compelled to report in light of our conversation on Friday include:
  • Large number of voting tabulators that were not working on election day;
  • Large number of Voting Location Supervisors (VLS) who did not balance their ballot tally on election night;
  • Many VLSs did not completely count their ballots prior to the polls opening;
  • Poll results were inaccurately reported on the web site; this was not completely corrected until nearly two weeks after election day;
  • A large number of ballots were discovered still in the vote tabulator bins on the day following the election;
  • I recommended a complete recount prior to any declaration of results in the Mayor's race to mitigate any potential legal repercussions in the future;
  • At least one secret meeting with a VLS (Poll 105) after the official results were declared;
  • You told me it was inappropriate to be asking my staff about the election process and that if I have questions I should direct them only to you;
  • The ballots were only moved to a secured single lock room on the weekend following the election;
  • There are a number of people who had access to this room through the master key system from November 10th to 14th and I observed, in the days following the election and prior to your declaration of results, both the Town Manager and the Commissioner of Corporate Services in the 'ballots room' (Committee Room 1/2), a room that should be highly secure with access limited to only the election team;
  • I do not recall either of them taking an oath prior to November 10th, al all election officials were required to do; and
  • On Thursday, Nov. 13th, I was not permitted to participate in inspection and review of the ballot boxes prior to the final declaration of results.

There is one irregularity, apart from the senior management and others having access to the ballot room, that particularly concerns me. The day after the election, Phil Bouillon, whose job, along with others it was to return the vote tabulators to storage, told me he had found approximately 50 completed ballots in the bottom of the vote tabulator bins. I asked Kim whether she had examined these ballots. She said she had looked at them but they did not matter because they were mainly for Ann Mulvale. I was somewhat suspicious of this cavalier attitude so I immediately examined the ballots myself and found there were 51 of them, mostly for Rob Burton. I asked Kim to ensure that these 51 ballots were kept separate in case of a recount or Court challenge. I learned from you on Friday that, despite my request to kim to keep the 51 ballots separate, you put those ballots into their respective ballot boxes because you believed they ha already been counted by the vote tabulators. I think there is doubt about whether these ballots have actually been counted. In the event it is determined that the vote tabulators may not have worked properly there is no way now to go back and find those 51 ballots. This may mean that there will have to be a complete manual recount, by an independent auditor, of all election ballots to determine the winner of the Mayor's race.

I managed the election process as best I could but there are other less obvious reasons for the organizational reporting dysfunction that I mentioned earlier. One of my greatest challenges was due to the fact that I already have Kim Galione's step-daughter, Laura Brown, Customer Service Representative, reporting to me. Laura told me the two main reasons she applied for the job last year were she enjoyed this type of work and more importantly Cathie Best, whom she knew well, was the Town Clerk. It was all I could do over the last several months to keep Laura working on her own work assignments rather than doing what Kim asked her to do regarding the election. Her loyalty, not surprisingly, is to her mother. The "halo effect" that results when relatives and friends work closely together, can make objectivity difficult to maintain.

I believe that, under the circumstances, I effectively manage delivery of services according to legal and Council mandates and act as adviser or arbitrator on operational issues while recommending policies and procedures according to the Municipal Act, Municipal Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act, Vital Statistics Act, Marriage Act and Municipal Elections Act and other legislation and within other constraints while contributing to efficiency improvements, where possible. The following list highlights the scope of my management responsibilities which I actively carry out on a daily basis. I:
  • supervise staff performance and try to develop and retain a skilled and knowledgeable team to deliver services;
  • constantly analyze, interpret and provide advice and guidance in solving complex problems;
  • continuously monitor operational performance and identify and implement improvements to operational efficiency;
  • develop or contribute to development of budgets and monitor and track actual expenditures;
  • provide expertise in the area of operation, including advising and liaising with management, community and other stakeholders, contributing to strategic planning and service development; I also participate in special projects, which may include delegating tasks to others;
  • act as an experienced reference point for collating, investigating and resolving a range of opportunities, issues and problems;
  • provide accurate records for the analysis of performance and ongoing improvement of services;
  • allocate financial resources efficiently to deliver services and maintain expenditures according to budget with appropriate checks and controls;
  • provide expertise and operations knowledge to planning and to provide accurate information for others in their planning and understanding of services;
  • provide specific expertise to cross-department and other teams to deliver well-designed programs and services, e.g. freedom of information & privacy;
  • and above all, as a public servant, I uphold the democratic process.

If the purpose of our meeting on Friday was to reestablish the performance review process, which we began on April 7, 2003 but which remains incomplete, then I look forward to the opportunity to formally complete this process. In our April meeting, we did not establish any goals or objectives and I feel this would be an essential step to take so that accomplishments can be clearly measured and therefore avoid general comments of "laziness".

I realize that I may seem persistent about my concerns with the irregularities during the recent election process. I recognize that the ultimate decisions are yours, as Town Clerk, however I feel obligated to share my observations and I would appreciate acknowledgement of my concerns. I trust that my feedback will be viewed objectively and that it will not affect my job performance. I will, in the future, be taking my concerns up the organizational hierarchy because I feel it is of sufficient importance to do so.

Dwight.
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