A late addition to tonight’s Committee of the Whole agenda is interesting correspondence from the Town’s legal firm, Aird & Berlis. In the letter, John Mascarin provides legal clarification on a recent motion ordering the Mayor to pay $1,302.62 due to a breach of the Code of Conduct that was deemed by the IC as being “trivial and without consequence”.
The resolution calling for the payment, passed in a not-surprising 5-4 vote, was as follows:
Questions arose from Councillor Bothwell in the form of an information request as to the legality of this in the context of the Municipal Act. An information request was also put in by Councillor Sharpe requesting a review of the motion of how it was written versus its intent.
Magder v. Ford, 2013
Who would of thought the late Rob Ford would play a role in Grimsby politics?
Around 2013, Mayor Ford was the subject of an Integrity Commissioner complaint over his private fundraising. As a result of having contravened the Code, Toronto Council at the time passed a resolution ordering Ford repay the monies raised as a result of the breach.
It was later found that this action was outside scope of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 (COTA, analogous to the Municipal Act, 2001) which only contemplated two outcomes, a reprimand or suspension of pay. Toronto Council had no jurisdiction to impose the “payback” penalty or action upon Ford.
Similarly, those two options were the only ones available to our Council. And like the Ford case, an action outside of the legally available remedies was proposed and passed in a 5-4 vote. To cut to the chase, Mr. Mascarin, who is also an Integrity Commissioner in other municipalities, stated:
Mr. Mascarin also ruled that the motion voted on was correct:
It is a trite observation that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” and this was the case of the motion at issue. Concerns were raised over this motion, but the attempt to push the legal envelope ultimately failed.
For completeness and an interesting read, you can review the full correspondence from Mr. Mascarin below:Opinion-Response-to-Information-Requests-re-IC-Report
Original Document Link: Click Here