Councillor says Niagara CAO hiring scandal is a mess and embarrassing

A mess and embarrassing.

That's how one St.Catharines Regional Councillor is describing the latest report in the St.Catharines Standard on the CAO hiring scandal.

In today's article penned by reporter Grant LaFleche, multiple sources have confirmed that CAO Carmen D'Angelo told regional councillors in a July 26th closed session that he received help from the office of Regional Chair Alan Caslin in 2016 to improve his candidacy for the position.

The newspaper is reporting D'Angelo attributed Caslin's former personal communications director Jason Tamming as the one he sought and received assistance from.

CKTB has reached out to Tamming for comment.

Earlier reports done by the paper have indicated that D'Angelo received a number of communications from two staffers who worked in Caslin's office.

Yesterday we asked Chair Alan Caslin about those published reports and he didn't respond saying he didn't read "that paper".

Caslin also confirmed yesterday that during that closed session councillors were given a chance to address concerns with the CAO and that all their questions were answered.

Councillor Kelly Edgar doesn't agree with that statement, saying councillors are more confused than ever.

He joined CKTB's Matt Holmes this morning saying he's pretty sure that Caslin is aware of the situation saying the Standard is the largest newspaper in the area.

Edgar says councillors aren't really sure what's going on when it comes to the investigation into the CAO hiring investigation.

The new investigation is being done by internal regional staff and is being overseen by a Western University professor.

Edgar says he's not even sure how the decision was made to put the investigation into D'Angelo's hiring back into D'Angelo's hands with a person from the London, ON university.

Andrew Sancton, the political science professor is being paid just under $80,000 to investigate the process.

Sancton is a former professor of Public Administration at Western, a program which D'Angelo is a graduate of.

Edgar says he doesn't know Sancton, and councillors don't know how this decision was made.

He's wondering who thought this was a good idea calling it strange.

Edgar says a council meeting will be held in September for them to review the latest investigation into the hiring scandal.

Toronto lawyer Marvin Huberman conducted an investigation into the CAO hiring process already and cleared the process of wrong doing.

Huberman did not collect digital evidence.

Several councillors have suggested bringing in the Ontario Ombudsman to look into the matter.

To read the Standard's latest article on the scandal click here.

On the Niagara Region's website it states the CAO is responsible for providing advice to Regional Council and leadership to senior staff.

It also says he is responsible for ensuring that policies and direction of Regional Council are implemented with efficiency and effectiveness.

D'Angelo was hired in 2016 and makes an annual salary of $230,000.