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Integrity Commissioner finds against Pinto, Meadows in Adjala-Tosorontio

Posted June 7, 2018

Adjala Tosorontio council will meet in special session Thurs., June 14 starting at 5:30 pm to deal with its Integrity Commissioner's (IC) finding councillors Floyd Pinto and Bob Meadows contravened the Council Code of Conduct.

Amberley Gavel Ltd. based its investigation on the April 10th, 2017 complaint, moved by Deputy Mayor Doug Little, whose "witness statement was quite lengthy and detailed a large
number of alleged infractions against the Code by the Councillors
. Many of the allegations actually predated the adoption of the Code of Conduct."

The ruling, dated May 27, and signed by Nigel Bellchamber, called it "clear to us"... "Councillors Meadows and Pinto have on multiple occasions been disrespectful towards their colleagues ....  The behavior has been disruptive to the conduct of business at the council table and has to some degree created a negative public perception of Council."

Mr. Bellchamber's report suggests the problems are "largely the shortcomings of the administrative policies and procedures at the Township that are at fault."

"Their frustration in achieving compliance with prevailing municipal standards has led to the inappropriate behaviors of Councillors Pinto and Meadows. We do not to condone those behaviors; however, these factors are relevant considerations for us in determining what we believe is an appropriate recommendation to council regarding penalties."

The IC recommends Councillors Meadows and Pinto be formally reprimanded and each acknowledge publicly at a Council Meeting the "inappropriate behaviour."

"Because we believe their objectives were in the best interests of the Township in the short and longer term we do not recommend a further penalty at this time."

The IC also recommends council: engage a qualified independent third party to review and report to Council on its administrative practices and procedures with a wide ranging mandate.

"Investigations under codes of conduct are not very effective ways to resolve disputes that arise at the council table," Mr. Bellchamber wrote. "When inappropriate behaviors do surface the first reaction of a Council should be to determine if there is a root cause rather than to proceed with an investigation Codes of conduct are not designed to examine policy or allow for procedure review and complaints can lead to enhanced conflict rather than to its resolution. We believe that having an independent review will reduce conflict and inappropriate behaviour and also benefit the Township in the long run."

Councillor Pinto has filed to run for Mayor while Councillor Meadows is running for Deputy Mayor in the 2018 municipal elections.

UPDATED at 1:18 pm from original post:
"As of today the Deputy mayor has not told us the specifics of the allegations, Our lawyers have sent letters requesting the details of the allegations but have not been given any information," Mr. Pinto told Free Press Online this afternoon via email. "He has asked us to apologize for inappropriate behaviour but has not stated what is the inappropriate behaviour. This investigation was called to investigate 20 allegations made by the Deputy Mayor, what happened to those allegations none have been addressed."

UPDATED at 3:22 pm from original post:
Councillor Meadows told Free Press Online this afternoon, the entire affair is a "witch hunt." The IC, he said, never met with them (Pinto).

"This all came to fruition from when we called for a forensic audit on the Township. That's when all this came about," he said. "They broke procedures in putting this (special council meeting) motion forward, in regards to this."

Mr. Meadows points to the IC finding pointing to the "shortcomings of the administrative policies and procedures."

"Again, this report basically says procedures are not followed properly by the Township, yet they want us to publicly apologize for the fact that the procedures aren't being followed by our township, which is what we've been saying from the very beginning. Procedures, bylaws, protocols, aren't being followed, so how can I as a councillor vote for something when procedures and policies aren't being done properly? When we find and bring this particular stuff out, we're reprimanded. ..... There were 20 breaches of the code of conduct. They haven't pinpointed which one of these allegations we broke. What about the others? I've been accused of breaking the law. Where did I break the law?

Deputy Mayor Little told Free Press Online in an email this afternoon he's expecting a spirited discussion at the June 14 special meeting.

"I will say the legislation needs to be refined as taking 14 months to address a code of conduct complaint ‎only creates further dissent," wrote Mr. Little. "As far as the Councillors not knowing the details of complaint it was spelled out in resolution 17/47 referencing the code of conduct. The I/C had reference information on each issue including times and dates of infractions listed within the resolution.

This motion was unanimously voted in favor by all council at the April 10 council meeting and in fact Councillor Pinto said bring it on. At our next regular scheduled council meeting these 2 Councillors declared a conflict on resolution 17/47.

I'm not sure what the consequences of not complying with the I/C recommendations through a council resolution. Perhaps it will need further clarification or alternative measures."

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri