Sensitivity training for council
Complaints not ‘swept under the rug:’ Mayor
Halifax regional council will take group sensitivity training after complaints were filed against councillors under the municipality’s code of conduct.
The municipality told Metro on Tuesday it had a total of 13 complaints against councillors under Administrative Order 52. At least three of those complaints were against Coun. Matt Whitman, and a source told Metro another three of those complaints were against a second councillor.
Whitman and Coun. Shawn Cleary had a heated debate on Twitter last month over whether the word “marijuana” is racist. Cleary used the F-word during that debate, and during a TV interview about the spat, Whitman used the word “negro.”
Whitman apologized at the beginning of the last council meeting. Cleary would not confirm Tuesday night whether any complaints were filed against him.
After hours of in-camera (closed) discussion in council chambers ending late Tuesday night, council voted unanimously to take “group sensitivity training as arranged by the CAO and the mayor.”
Mayor Mike Savage told reporters after the meeting that the complaints against the councillors were dealt with. “This wasn’t swept under the rug. This wasn’t pushed aside,” he said.
Even though that discussion was held behind closed doors and the municipality wouldn’t say which councillors were the subject of complaints, Savage said it was no secret.
“This hasn’t been a private process,” he said. “People have expressed their concerns publicly in a number of ways, so I don’t think there’s any secret about who the complaints were against.”