Jeff Green | Sep 15, 2016
When Addington Highlands reeve, Henry Hogg, voted in favour of a motion supporting the wind turbine contract submissions that RES Canada and NextEra were making under the Large Renewable Procurement process last July, it made a number of Addington Highlands residents unhappy.
For Paul Isaacs, one of the most outspoken of those residents, who happens to be a trained engineer, it triggered a further response.
Isaacs felt that since Henry Hogg is also a trained engineer he was bound to make sure that any decision he made or position he took on a public matter did not contradict the oath that he had taken when he graduated as a mechanical engineer from the University of Waterloo in 1967. Henry Hogg joined the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) in 1969 and is still a member
Isaacs took a similar oath, and although he never joined the Professional Engineers of Ontario himself, he submitted a complaint to the association on September 28.
In his complaint he alleged that Hogg “voted to approve the large IWT [Industrial Wind Turbine] project with no study, engineering due diligence, or consultation with his constituents” according to the summary included in the PEO complaints committee notice of decision, which was released to Hogg on July 12 of this year.
When contacted this week, Isaacs said he felt that during debates leading up to the vote that council took on the matter, which resulted in Hogg himself breaking a 2-2 tie with his yes vote, Hogg did not indicate that he had done enough research on the implications of the decision, and as an engineer he was duty bound to make use of his expertise.
“This is the biggest engineering project in the history of the township. He is most educated person; he is the reeve, and he didn't provide his expertise. That was the essence of my complaint,” he said.
When asked whether he knew if Hogg had done any research into the issue, Isaacs said he did not know, but said, “That is part of my point, if he had put pen to paper or provided information in some way, we would have seen it.”
In their notice of decision, the complaints committee of the PEO pointed out that “the Ministry of the Environment and climate change possessed the authority to approve the project and engineering analysis for this project was not the responsibility of Hogg. ... Further, while a professional engineer in public office must adhere to the same standards of conduct as a practising engineer, in its investigation the Committee found no evidence of professional misconduct or breach of the code of ethics on the part of Hogg.”
The committee concluded, “There is no evidence on which there is a reasonable prospect of a finding of professional misconduct or incompetence ...”, and the matter was not referred to the Discipline Committee of the PEO.
Henry Hogg released a statement on the matter last week, which he read out to a meeting of Addington Highlands Council.
In it he said that when informed of the complaint, “I took these charges very seriously and hired legal counsel to defend my actions, which had nothing to do with my position as a professional engineer.”
Hogg also said, “In his submission to the PEO, my legal counsel stated that Mr. Isaacs had defamed me solely as a result of his disagreement with council’s majority decision.”
Isaacs told the News that he did not submit his complaint to the PRO because of the way Hogg voted, but because Hogg did not demonstrate he had applied his skills and knowledge as an engineer to the matter, but added, “It would have put me in a moral quandary if he had voted against the motion. Would I have submitted my complaint in that case? I'm not sure.”
Henry Hogg said he is not planning to take further action on the matter.