Hal­ton trustee cen­sured for vi­o­lat­ing code of con­duct

The Hamilton Spectator - - Local - SAIRA PEESKER

BURLINGTON — A Hal­ton Catholic Dis­trict School Board trustee who has been dis­ci­plined for her be­hav­iour says she wishes she could ex­plain what hap­pened, but is bound by con­fi­den­tial­ity rules.

Trustees de­ter­mined Burlington rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jane Michael (Ward 3 and Ward 6) breached the board’s code of con­duct at a pri­vate meet­ing on May 8.

At the board’s pub­lic meet­ing on May 15, vice-chair Paul Marai read a mo­tion an­nounc­ing the sanc­tion and stat­ing the penalty: Michael is barred from at­tend­ing two board meet­ings, re­moved from her po­si­tion on the dis­ci­pline com­mit­tee and ex­cluded from the search for a new di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion “from the be­gin­ning to the end of the hir­ing process.” The board’s di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion, Paula Daw­son, an­nounced her re­tire­ment ear­lier this year. Her re­tire­ment date is set for Aug. 31. The dis­ci­pline com­mit­tee han­dles high-level stu­dent issues such as ex­pul­sions.

Trustees de­clined to ex­plain the na­ture of Michael’s of­fence, cit­ing On­tario Ed­u­ca­tion Act pro­vi­sions that gov­ern pri­vate meet­ings. Those state that trustees may dis­cuss the fol­low­ing top­ics in pri­vate: the se­cu­rity of board prop­erty; the dis­clo­sure of in­ti­mate, per­sonal or fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion; the ac­qui­si­tion or dis­posal of a school site; ne­go­ti­a­tions with em­ploy­ees; and lit­i­ga­tion. Michael has ac­cepted the cen­sure. She de­clined to com­ment when asked if she thought it was fair.

“I would love to share, but I can’t share a thing,” she said Wed­nes­day.

The rep­ri­mand may not seem like much, said fel­low trustee An­thony Quinn, but it’s the strong­est sanc­tion avail­able to the board un­der the leg­is­la­tion.

“Our board has not had to cen­sure a trustee in the mem­ory of cur­rent trustees,” he wrote in an email. “I am per­son­ally vexed and dis­ap­pointed to have to go through this process. But it is im­por­tant to do it, so as to show our stake­hold­ers that we take breaches in our code of con­duct se­ri­ously.”

Dur­ing the May 15 meet­ing, Quinn at­tempted to amend the cen­sure mo­tion so Michael would ef­fec­tively be barred from an ad­di­tional board meet­ing. Chair Diane Rabenda did not al­low Quinn’s mo­tion, say­ing the proper pro­ce­dure was sim­ply to pub­licly con­firm what had hap­pened in the pri­vate meet­ing.

“You want her to be away June 19 … I know ex­actly what’s hap­pen­ing,” charged Rabenda, in one of many heated ex­changes be­tween trustees dur­ing the meet­ing.

June 19 is when the board’s fi­nal 2018-19 bud­get will be ap­proved.

Jane Michael

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