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Integrity Commissioner report presented to Council

October 21, 2021   ·   0 Comments

Council was presented with a report from the integrity commissioner during the meeting of October 18.

Council had already been notified of six complaints regarding “code-of-conduct of a Councillor’s behaviour” during two previous committee of the whole meetings held on May 31, and June 14, of this year.

The meetings were held in a virtual format with each Councillor appearing remotely via webcam.

While the Councillor was not named in the initial report, the dates coincide with the dates Councillor Wayne Noye was observed apparently watching a hockey game during the meetings.

Noye can be seen looking over his computer screen for most of the segment and obviously his attention was not on the meeting.

The result was an immediate backlash, especially on social media regarding his conduct during a Council meeting. Several people pointed out his reaction to watching the Montreal Canadiens score a goal.

Noye later admitted he had been watching the game but initially refused to apologize for his actions.

Council was discussing the plan to build the new administration centre and the meeting attracted considerable attention from local residents who opposed to the project, as well as others who voiced support.

John Mascarin, of the firm Aird & Berlis LLP, addressed council during Monday’s meeting. Aird & Berlis is the Integrity Commissioner for the Town of New Tecumseth.

Between the dates of June 21, and August 9, 2021, Mr. Mascarin said they received six complaints “pursuant to the code of conduct,” that were all related to the same matter and same member of Council.

“Each of the complaints alleged that the conduct of Councillor Noye at the meetings of Committee of the Whole on May 31, and June 14, contravene the Code of Conduct,” Mr. Mascarin said, adding that the report makes reference to “two other complaints that were filed by one of the complainants that alleged two other members of Council had mis-conducted themselves at the June 14 meeting.”

Those two secondary complaints were investigated and dismissed.

When it comes to the complaints regarding Councillor Noye, the Integrity Commissioner held on to the complaints for a period of time to allow any other people who wished to make a complaint, do so, and allow all complaints to be reviewed at the same time.

The allegations against Mr. Noye detailed his conduct at the June 14, meeting, as well as references to comments made to the media.

Councillor Noye made a statement of apology at the June 28 Council meeting and that apology did factor into the final findings and recommendations.

Mr. Mascarin said they believe the apology was sincere and noted so in their report.

While several complainants pointed out a specific reference that they believed were in breach of the Code of Conduct, Mr. Mascarin said they looked at the entire committee of the whole meetings to put everything into context.

He went on to say, “In general, what happens at a meeting is generally in the confines of the body that is having the meeting,” adding, “the behaviour of members at a meeting is generally under the jurisdiction and responsibility of the head of Council or presiding chair.”

It was suggested that due to the similarity in the complaints that were filed in terms of style and structure, that several people colluded and filed several complaints rather a single complaint.

Given the rather polarizing nature of the vote to build the new administration centre, it was also suggested that the complainants were trying to remove or block the Council member, or members, from voting on the issue.

The Integrity Commissioner’s final findings concluded that “the member’s conduct in being distracted from and not devoting full and proper attention, to the very important matters that Council was considering fell short of the expectations set out in your code of conduct. The member’s conduct was simply not appropriate. We do not believe the member’s conduct was so egregiously flawed that it warranted a reprimand or the imposition of penalties or sanctions by Council.”

By Brian Lockhart
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter



         


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