Council calls for external review of member’s conduct

(Gazette file photo)

Integrity commissioner Robert Swayze called to report on complaint from member of public




A heated series of e-mails between an unnamed Prince Edward County councillor and a resident will require examination by the municipality’s integrity commissioner.

At a special meeting called by Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff at Shire Hall Tuesday night, council met in closed session to discuss and receive legal advice as it relates to a personal matter about an identifiable individual and his or her actions related to the code of conduct for members of council.

The code of conduct applies to all members of council of Corporation of the County of Prince Edward and under the code anyone witnessing or experiencing a violation may deal with it either informally with the person committing a violation or through a formal complaint.

Council approved a motion Tuesday directing the municipality’s integrity commissioner Robert Swayze to investigate a complaint received by council from a resident regarding communications the resident received via e-mail from a  councillor.

In a statement issued by Mayor Quaiff following the meeting, it appears council anticipates a response from the integrity commissioner within 30 days, at which time council will respond to findings and any corrective action recommended by the integrity commissioner.

Council intends to co-operate fully with the integrity commissioner. Due to the confidential nature of this personal matter, the municipality has no further comment at this time,” Quaiff said.

The timeline of the formal complaint is unknown however the code prohibits the integrity commissioner from issuing any reports to council about complaints received from the June 1 of an election year and election day meaning the emails could have occurred as late as the spring of 2018.

Section 223.3 of the revised Ontario Municipal Act enables a municipality to appoint an integrity commissioner to address the application of the code of donduct for their elected officials and members of local boards .

Prince Edward County council appointed Swayze, a Caledonia-based lawyer, as its integrity commissioner in November 2016.

Under the code of conduct, Swayze can impose sanctions on violators that include reprimand and/or suspension of the renumeration paid to the member in respect of his or her services as a member of council or a local board, for a period of up to 90 days.

Swayze may also recommend council request a written or verbal public apology and/or return of property or reimbursement of its value or of monies spent.

It’s believed this instance is the first time council has required Swayze’s services and that the current council will receive the commissioner’s report and respond to the findings.