Council rescinds naming mayor to FFPC board

Town council last night rescinded a motion passed at its Feb. 28 meeting to appoint Mayor Dan Onichuk to the Fort Frances Power Corp. board of directors after hearing a presentation from FFPC chair Doug McCaig.
McCaig told council that since 2003, when Bill 35 came into effect, the FFPC has been a private corporation, meaning the board is not a committee of council, not governed by council, and accountable to the town strictly as a shareholder.
He added council was in error to appoint the mayor at a time other than the only time when it is appropriate to put a nominee’s name forward—at the FFPC’s annual general meeting, which will be held sometime between July and September.
If such an appointment were theoretically accepted, the blatant contravention of the FFPC’s regulations would leave the appointee unprotected from a legal standpoint.
If, for whatever reason, the appointee was sued as a director of the board, the FFPC’s insurance company wouldn’t cover it, and they would be responsible for themselves.
What’s more, McCaig stressed the vacancy on the board left by former FFPC CEO Mark McCaig is going to be filled by current CEO Jim Kibiuk at the upcoming annual general meeting.
This is pursuant to a contract made with Kibiuk when he was first hired last summer. After a probationary period, he could become a director—in fact, president—of the FFPC.
If the FFPC could not meet that contractual obligation, noted McCaig, Kibiuk could sue the FFPC for “constructive dismissal” (i.e., being hired for one job and doing another).
He also said that as president and CEO, Kibiuk would get no remuneration for being on the board while another appointee would. This extra cost would be passed on to the FFPC’s ratepayers.
McCaig stressed the FFPC and its board members “have an impeccable record,” and have worked hard over the years to ensure the power agreement currently benefitting hydro customers in Fort Frances remains intact.
“You’re undermining the integrity of council and the integrity of the power corporation,” he charged.
Mayor Onichuk noted council had “no intent to undermine” the process, adding they simply didn’t know they were in contravention of the regulations.
“I voted to do it. We were unaware of the process,” echoed Coun. Todd Hamilton. “We need to rescind what we did.”
Both Mayor Onichuk and Coun. Hamilton stressed council and the FFPC should start working on better communication in the future.
“Please consult with us,” said McCaig. “We’ll tell you anything you want to know.”
Council unanimously voted to rescind the motion from the Feb. 28 meeting.
In other news, representatives from CNR did not show up at last night’s council meeting and likely will reschedule for a future date, said Clerk Glenn Treftlin.
Also at last night’s meeting, council:
•approved a break-open ticket licence application from the Border Skating Cub at Sparky’s Confectionery from March 29, 2005-Sept. 29, 2005;
•referred a financial request from Confederation College regarding funding for a community-based Bachelor of Science Nursing program in Fort Frances to the Administration and Finance executive committee for a recommendation;
•referred a request from the “chem-free” grad committee regarding the waiving of rental fees for the arena and auditorium for this year’s party to the Administration and Finance executive committee for a recommendation;
•referred a request from the Municipal Tax Collectors of Ontario for support of its resolution regarding amendments to taxation legislation for Current Value Assessment (CVA) taxation to the Administration and Finance executive committee for a recommendation;
•passed a bylaw to authorize the entering into of certain lease renewal agreements at the Fort Frances Municipal Airport; and
•passed a bylaw to amend Bylaw 10/03 (the Traffic Control Bylaw) and put into effect changes to parking on the 200 block of First Street East, including the elimination of calendar parking on the 200 block of First Street East, 24-hour parking along the north side only, and the provision of one curbside handicap accessible parking spot at the pedestrian ramp/sidewalk leading into Family and Children’s Services at 240 First St. E.