Two lengthy and heavy Integrity Commissioner reports appeared in the agenda for this coming Monday’s Council of the Whole meeting. The complaints and the IC findings shed a great deal of light on the tensions between Members of Council.
Councillors Dunstall, Ritchie and Vaine v. Mayor Jordan
Remember $1,302.62? That was the amount way back on February 16th that Council (in a 5-4 vote) ordered the Mayor repay as a result of a bill from “an individual” whom the Mayor had an unauthorized conversation with and subsequently resulted in a breach of the Code of Conduct.
The breach was determined to be “trivial and without consequence” but despite that finding and a recommendation of “no penalty” from then Integrity Commissioner Charles Harnick, who was later removed from the position, Members of Council pressed the matter about the bill of $1,302.62 they had become aware of.
Even though it was later determined that the billing “individual” had also talked to Town Staff and a finding from the Town’s Counsel, John Mascarin, that the penalty to repay the $1,302.62 was “not authorized” by law, it appears those facts still did not satisfy some on Council.
Councillors Dunstall, Ritchie and Vaine collaborated and filed a complaint against Mayor Jordan alleging nineteen (19) violations of the Code of Conduct because of his actions about and around the contentious $1,302.62 issue. The basis of their complaint appears to be centered around the following:
The IC’s Analysis & Findings
After what appears to be an “a complex and time-consuming investigation” carried out by the Integrity Commissioner and a fellow Investigator, he concluded that all of the allegations were not applicable or there was no breach, thereby clearing Mayor Jordan. The motion to repay was not legal and thus it is considered a “nullity”.
The report is quite a long read, but in the name of completeness you can find it in it’s entirety below:Investigation-Report-IC-13188-0321-September-24-2021
Open PDF in New Window: IC-13188-0321
Councillor Bothwell v. Councillor Vaine
While there is less background to this complaint and report than the previous, the allegations raised in this matter are far more serious. In her complaint, Councillor Bothwell alleged that Councillor Vaine breached the following sections of the Code of Conduct:
The complaint outlines a series of e-mail chains and other instances cited by Bothwell as “misogynistic and demeaning attacks against (her that) seem to reflect a pattern of behaviour that cannot be tolerated and ignored any further”.
The Integrity Comissioner noted the following, as part of Councillor Vaine’s reply:
From Councillor Bothwell’s reply, the Integrity Commisioner noted:
In the interview with Councillor Bothwell, the IC provided the following:
From Councillor Vaine’s verbal interview, the Integrity Comissioner wrote:
Coucillor Vaine – “an assistant/secretary”
As part of the report, the Integrity Commissioner published a direct email from Councillor Vaine to Councillor Bothwell defending his position. The entire email can be found in the report at the end of the post, but in this excerpt he makes a comment that can only be described as remarkable:
From Councillor Bothwell’s written reply, the following is noted by the IC:
The IC’s Analysis & Findings
As some of the events raised by Councillor Bothwell related to harassment were outside the 6-week limitation period for IC complaints, Councillor Vaine was of the opinion that those should be excluded. The Integrity Commissioner and the Investigator did not agree:
In closing the Integrity Commissioner noted:
For these breaches of the Code of Conduct, the report further recommends a penalty:
Below is the report in it’s entirety:Investigation-Report-IC-13251-0321-Sept-20-2021
Open PDF in New Window: IC-13251-0321
Members of Council will have the opportunity to discuss these IC reports and their findings at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting. You can watch the meeting (starting with the rescheduled Council session) at 6PM at our Facebook page or at the Town’s livestream at https://grimsby.ca/livestream