UPDATE : Investigation alleges hiring of Niagara Region CAO tainted - Chairman addresses story

An investigation into regional politics in Niagara is raising eyebrows as allegations surface, calling into question the hiring process surrounding the region's chief administrative officer.

A St. Catharines Standard report penned by Grant Lafleche claims during the selection process a memo containing details on the candidates was leaked from the office of Regional Chair Alan Caslin to Carmen D’Angelo - the man who eventually secured the position.

The article also alleges the decision was 'predetermined' despite the fact a Toronto recruiting firm was paid more than $40,000 during the recruitment process.

Grant Lafleche joins Larry Fedoruk at 5:15 p.m. this evening to discuss his investigation.

Earlier this afternoon Regional Chair Alan Caslin issued the following statement to the CKTB newsroom regarding the story. 

The CAO Recruitment Committee consisted of 5 Councillors and was supported by Regional staff.

The committee and its terms of reference were approved by a vote of Council.

Council publicly approved the recruitment process, the recruitment firm, a list of character traits for prospective candidates, and the unanimous recommendation of the committee.

Council approved a resolution that as Chair of the Committee, the Regional Chair would act as a liaison in the hiring process between the committee and the recruitment firm. Accordingly, at numerous steps of the process Mr. Phelps and the recruitment firm corresponded directly by email with my office, including providing documents that were circulated to the Committee.

In keeping with the accepted practice of past Chairs and their staff, support staff from my office attend open and closed meetings of Committee and Council and have relevant materials for those meetings, including meetings of the CAO Recruitment Committee. This attendance is confirmed in the publicly available committee minutes.

As such, I anticipate that the recruitment firm will correct their incorrect statements to the St. Catharines Standard.”

CKTB news has reached out for futher clarification from the Regional Chair to directly address the allegation that a memo, listing the candidates names for the CAO position was sent to D'Angelo during the hiring process, while he was employed at the NPCA.