Po­lit­i­cal storm fore­casted for South Stor­mont coun­cil meet­ing

Seaway News - - NEWS - Adam Brazeau

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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

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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.

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Deputy mayor Tammy Hart.

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