Political storm forecasted for South Stormont council meeting
CORNWALL, Ontario - Wednesday night’s South Stormont council meeting was expected to be explosive after Mayor Bryan McGillis made some ominous remarks in an interview last week.
McGillis said South Stormont Deputy Mayor Tammy Hart leaked a report from Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner concerning her code of conduct, which is under fire from the rest of council. The report confirmed allegations that Hart made inflammatory comments about McGillis and spoke with media about in-camera topics.
“We have a procedural by- law that states there’s a process to follow. This is a confidential document where council should have the opportunity to read it first,” said McGillis. “It was supposed to be in the package for the Nov. 27 council meeting. She’s done exactly what she was told not to do, she leaked the report out early.”
Hart says document.
“These individual reports do not have confidential on them. The report that came to me was meant for me,” she said. “It also states in the e-mail that the discussion on this report will take place in an open session.”
Hart said all the individual councillors received their copy of the reports at 2:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Nov. 19. One day before local media announced the report’s decision on three complaints.
“Council was privy to the information one day before,” she said.
Hart is defending the move, which is meant to protect her from being “blindsided” by the rest of council in front of media.
“Under normal circumstances, I would’ve waited until we got together. But, this situation has gone too far,” said Hart. “The report is very biased and unfair, and I can’t go into the lion’s
confidential den unprepared, and reporters need to know that.”
Hart says the report is a personal attack. Unlike McGillis, who sees it as a fair assessment of her actions during and after South Stormont council meetings.
“The report was very accurate, fair and speaks volumes about Deputy Mayor Hart’s conduct in the past,” he said.
Robert Swayze, integrity commissioner, had this to say about Hart in the report’s final conclusion:
“I have decided not to impose sanctions on the Deputy Mayor at this time. In the interview with me, she did indicate that she was willing to change. If in the future I receive another valid complaint that she continues to harass the Mayor or other persons she deals with as a Councillor, I will impose sanctions against her.”
McGillis said the council and not just him will have to come to a collective agreement on how to move forward. “This discussion is not over yet,” he said. Hart believes the rift in council is because she adamantly pursues transparency and keeps her constituents as a first priority. That doesn’t mean she isn’t willing to make council work as a whole. “I will calm it down,” she said. Check cornwallseawaynews. com update to this story.
Deputy mayor Tammy Hart.