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Red hill Inquiry concludes a grueling examination of former head of engineering

Red hill Inquiry concludes a grueling examination of former head of engineering

There were some tough questions for former Hamilton Director of Engineering Gary Moore at the Red Hill Inquiry Wednesday as inquiry counsel Emily Lawrence concluded her four-day marathon examination of Mr. Moore. Lawrence took the witness to the time in May 2018 when Moore had been replaced as Director of Engineering and had been seconded to the LRT project.

At this time there had been a complete reorganization of the department. Dan McKinnon had taken over as head of Public Works and appointed  Gord McGuire to replace Moore as head of engineering.  In September 2018, in a week when Gary Moore was receiving an award as Engineer of the year, McGuire was reviewing files and for the first time came across the 2014 Tradewind Friction Report.

All this was happening as the city was responding to a freedom of Information request that was asking about friction on the road. What followed was a series of meetings with city legal, communications and risk management staff strategizing how and when the break the news to council.

McKinnon and McGuire held a meeting with Moore to discuss the Tradewind Report and why it was not shared with anyone. Meeting notes suggest Moore said the report was inconclusive. This was the meeting that was later described as a scene out of the movie, A few Good Men at which Jack Nicholson delivers his “you can’t handle the truth” soliloquy. Around this time the city’s Audit services had Moore’s email files searched for correspondence between him and Golder in late 2013 up to the time the Tradewind report was rendered.

On January 31 2019 Moore was summoned to a meeting organized by Acting City Manager Mike Zegarac and city staff which included Dan McKinnon, Gord McGuire and, significantly. Laura Fontana, the head of Hamilton’s Human Resources department. Moore told inquiry counsel today that the meeting made him uncomfortable. “It was more of an interrogation,” he said. “When you walk into a meeting that you’re not able to prepare for and there’s the city manager, a general manager, a director and someone from HR, it’s not a comfortable feeling.”

Asked repeatedly why he did not share the Tradewind friction report with colleagues Moore repeated earlier testimony that he had no basis on which to evaluate the Tradewind findings and found them inconclusive. He told the inquiry today that Golder, who subcontracted the friction testing to Tradewind did not convey a sense of urgency in their report to him in 2014. “If there had been any urgency, that would have formed part of the report,” he testified.

Management style

Towards the end of the testimony Wednesday Inquiry lawyer Emily Lawrence drilled down on the issue of Moore’s management style with his colleagues. She showed him an anonymous memo that contained a string of unattributed profanity-laden comments a couple of which read:

“you can’t design to prevent stupid….”

“I’m not spending money to fix a problem that few people think is a problem. F**k them”

Lawrence asked Moore if any of these quotes reflected his views, and he said they did not. He did admit under questioning that he sometimes swore at meetings, and that he could be forceful in stating his views. Virtually every witness so far who had any contact with Moore, have been asked about Moore’s interpersonal skills. It is expected Moore will be on the stand for at least another day as counsel from the city and other parties in the inquiry cross examine Mr. Moore.

With the number of current and former City staff and councillors testifying at this Inquiry we asked the city if these people are receiving legal support provided by the Corporation. A spokesperson confirms they are, writing, “In line with the City’s indemnification bylaw, the City is providing support for both current and former employees and members of Council. We cannot confirm specifics with relation to the level of support, and can confirm the total costs for this support will be reflected in the total expenses for the Inquiry that the City is required to pay.”

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