Tonight’s council meeting includes a deputation by two integrity commissioners, contracted by the town through the County of Simcoe to investigate complaints made against council members.
Jeffrey A. Abrams and Janice Atwood-Petkovski, the co-principals at Principles Integrity will be at Collingwood council tonight to deliver an in-person report about their latest findings regarding a complaint filed against Mayor Sandra Cooper.
The complaint was filed by Steve Berman (a candidate for council in the 2018 municipal election), after Cooper voted against hiring a consultant to help with the Collingwood Regional Airport sale even though her brother, Paul Bonwick, is the senior vice-president of operations and business development with the Clearview Aviation Business Park (CABP).
The integrity commissioner - Principles Integrity - found Mayor Cooper contravened the town’s code of conduct by voting on the matter but recommended no sanctions. Further details on the integrity commissioner’s investigation and report into Cooper’s vote can be found in this Collingwood Today article.
The Principles Integrity written report was delivered to council at the May 14 meeting. Based on the current agreement the town has with Principles Integrity, there would only be one in-person report by the commissioners annually.
Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson asked that an in-person report be delivered each time Principles Integrity finds a member of council in contravention of the code of conduct. He received support from other members of council and the motion passed.
At tonight’s meeting (May 28), Abrams and Atwood-Petkovski will be presenting their findings on the investigation into Cooper’s vote on the airport matter.
Also included in tonight’s council agenda is an email from Principles Integrity to notify Mayor Cooper as well as councillors Mike Edwards and Kevin Lloyd to notify them of a complaint made against them.
The complaint suggests the three voted on the motion to have a judicial inquiry into the sale of 50 per cent of COLLUS shares in 2012, but should not have voted on the matter because they were members of council when the shares were sold in 2012.
Principles Integrity notified Cooper, Edwards and Lloyd it would not be conducting an investigation into the complaint as their voting on the judicial inquiry.
“Based on our review of the information provided, we found the members did not have a conflict of interest, nor did their actions disclose a disregard of the ‘improper use of influence’ provisions of the code of conduct,” states the email sent to Cooper, Edwards and Lloyd.
Further, Principles Integrity states the possibility of incurring personal costs during the judicial inquiry is remote and speculative and therefore does not represent a pecuniary interest.
The email was sent March 29 to Edwards, Cooper and Lloyd, but not to the rest of council.