Candidates respond: ERTH Corp
All candidates for Aylmer mayor, deputy mayor and councillors were submitted the same six questions by the Aylmer Express. The three candidates for mayor are Jack Couckuyt, Greg Currie and Bob Habkirk. The three candidates for deputy mayor are Doug Avram, Mary French and Gerry Richer. The nine candidates for coucnillors (five to be elected) are Sheri Andrews, Pete Barbour, David LaPointe, Barbara Ann Laur, Ted McDonald, Bill Murch, Arthur Oslach, John Vandermeersch and Judi Wright. Here are unedited answers to one of the questions in order of candidate:
Aylmer is a large (approximately 20 percent) shareholder of ERTH Corp (Erie Thames Powerlines). Will you undertake to release more financial information, including pay and benefits for directors and executives, for this publicly-owned enterprise?
Couckuyt: I will work to make directors’ stipends known.
Currie: Since ERTH Corp (Erie Thames Powerlines) is a publically owned enterprise, I would look at acceptable business reporting practises when releasing any remuneration information.
Habkirk: As an Incorporated Company that operates in the competitive private sector with all the rights and privileges that go with that. Including a shareholders’ agreement. All Corporation documents that the Company Board of directors deem public are available, same as any other Incorporated Business such as the Aylmer Express
Avram: Although Aylmer is a shareholder, ERTH Corp (Erie Thames Powerlines) is a private company which has been explained to the Aylmer Express numerous times.
French: I agree with releasing as much financial information as possible about ERTH Corp.
Richer: Erth….Aylmer is a financial shareholder owning some 18% of Erth corp shares. An annual financial statement report is released by ERTH which speaks to financial matters of Erth Corp. Most of the matters which speak to salaries, benefits is considered priviliged information and is protected by either freedom of information legislation or as prescribed by the Corporations Act…..Consequently, no board member who sits on Erth nor any municipal council is permitted to release any information of the corporation which is potentially contrary to law……This would be no different then myself asking to see the financial books of Aylmer express which is protected by the same legislation….its a Corporation.!
Andrews: As a large shareholder, I feel it’s our responsibility to make the financial information available to the shareholders aka the residents of Aylmer. Publicly owned enterprises such as ERTH Corp, have a responsibility to provide to their shareholders complete transparency into the financial situation of the company.
Barbour: I support the disclosure of salaries, if privacy legislation prohibits such notice that information should at least be available in confidence to Council.
LaPointe: ERTH Corporation is a private corporation that happens to be owned by 8 Municipalities, it is not a publically traded corporation. Under the 8 shareholders agreement of understanding this information is confidential.
Laur: Erie Thames is the company we do business with since the not for profit PUC, and is a company with 11 other municipalities as shareholders not just Aylmer. Should the other municipalities believe this information should be released than I see no problem with it. I do, however, believe that we should be more immediately concerned how the aprox. 100,000.00 thousand dollars per year Aylmer receives for its shares is being utilized.
McDonald: I am not sure of the legal requirements for disclosure concerning ERTH Corp. This might be a legal question and not one for the candidates who may not have the legal expertise to answer this question.
Murch: ERTH Corporation is actually a group of companies. Yes, the Town of Aylmer should make available all financial information that it can legally access as a shareholder.
Oslach: ERTH Corp is a private Corporation not Public. I still own a private Corporation and it would be very detrimental to the Corporation to release financial information unless the Board of Director’s wished to do so. On the other hand the board of Directors could release certain pertinent information but not full financial discloser.
Vandermeersch: Only two people from Aylmer have ever sat on the board of ERTH corporation, one of them being me. Sadly, we have both been hounded by the editor of this paper to release information that is private in an equally private corporation. My fiduciary responsibility to the company forbids me from divulging any information that would give our competitors unfair advantage in the competitive market we inhabit. So, too, does the shareholder agreement each municipality signed. If I shirk those responsibilities I would do harm to the company and ,thereby, to the town. I will not do that.
Wright: Aylmer is a shareholder in ERTH corp. I am not privy to the salaries or benefits paid to directors or executives. I believe those issues are controlled by the privacy of information act. If it is legally possible to determine the remunerations paid, I would support the initiative.