Internal auditor completes review of Oakville Hydro political donations

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 – for immediate release

Internal auditor completes review of Oakville Hydro political donations

Town to amend its grant policy to prohibit the use of town funds for political donations

Town of Oakville Director of Internal Audit Pierre Sauvageot presented Council with a comprehensive report Monday night on $18,485 in political contributions/donations made by the Oakville Hydro Corporation (OHC) between January 2000 and November 2010. The report confirmed that the majority of the contributions were for purchasing tickets to attend specific political events. The report noted that no written policies were in place at OHC at the time these donations were made but the OHC Board of Directors has since resolved that political donations are prohibited. Mr. Sauvageot also recommended that the town update its own policies to specifically prohibit organizations receiving town grants or funding from using those funds for political donations. Council also approved an amendment to its Shareholder Direction with OHC that prohibits OHC from making any political contributions or donations.

“Council is confident that the report from the internal auditor has uncovered the full extent of political donations made by OHC. Town management has assured us that the town will take immediate steps to implement the policy changes recommended in the report,” Mayor Burton said. “As I have said before, I accept responsibility for the decision to attend the Heritage Dinner to lobby provincial government ministers. We have heard from the public and have changed our policies to ensure that it won’t happen again.”

Oakville Hydro staff is currently drafting a sponsorship and donations policy that will be presented to the OHC Board of Directors for approval. Town staff is working on an updated corporate grant policy that will explicitly prohibit organizations who receive town grants or funding from using those funds for political donations.

“Based on my review, the Oakville Hydro Corporation Board of Directors and management have taken both public and Council concerns regarding these political donations very seriously,” said Pierre Sauvageot, director, Internal Audit for the Town of Oakville. “All political donations and contributions have been investigated and our next steps will ensure it never happens again.”

In response to public concerns in November 2010, Council directed the OHC to immediately suspend all political donations, and requested that the town’s internal auditor conduct a thorough review of all political contribution/donations. The Town of Oakville is the sole shareholder of the OHC.

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Media contacts:

Jane Courtemanche
Director, Strategy, Policy and Communications
Town of Oakville
905-845-6601, ext. 3038
jcourtemanche@oakville.ca


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Internal auditor completes review of Oakville Hydro political donations