KEARNEY – No one is saying exactly what it was Mayor Paul Tomlinson did in order for council to request his resignation, however, they are still not dropping the matter.
“The investigation and the report is confidential so I can’t give specific details,” said Coun. Steve Sainsbury.
Sainsbury says the bylaw that the complaint was filed under is designed for instances such as the one that took place with the mayor.
“Part of the bylaw’s provisions allow for an employee to identify any incident that they feel is inappropriate,” he said. “It is the obligation of the council, if it gets to that level, to address the problem.”
Sainsbury says they chose to launch an investigation and come back to council with recommendations, and to determine whether harassment, in this case bullying, had occurred.
“The complaint is relative to one individual but more than one incident. The complaint covers a period of time,” he said.
Tomlinson denied comment to the Almaguin News concerning the issue.
“This matter was dealt with in closed session and that’s where it will stay,” he said. “I will have no further comment on any aspect of it.”
The Almaguin News also spoke with the union shop steward and was told that she had no involvement in the investigation.
The investigation began in June but is not going away.
A resolution, if passed, at a special meeting of Town of Kearney council tomorrow morning could see the mayor stripped of some of his official duties.
Town of Kearney council is continuing to weigh their options of how to deal with Tomlinson after he refused their official request to resign at the Sept. 7 council meeting.
“Council will be given a number of options as far as next steps,” said Coun. Steve Sainsbury. “Council will be looking at all other options and based upon council’s decision, decide whether any or all of them will be implemented.”
Sainsbury spoke to the Almaguin News before the special meeting agenda for was posted.
On Sept. 7, Tomlinson told council that he would not resign and intended to serve out the remainder of his four-year term.
The resolution put forward for the Friday morning meeting states that council does not accept the mayor’s decision to ignore council’s request for his resignation and, if passed, would authorize council to request a delegation with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, formally requesting her assistance in utilizing her legislative authority to commence action to remove the mayor from office. It would also authorize Sainsbury to contact the Town’s municipal lawyer to develop a series of actions for council’s consideration curtail or minimize the mayor’s current powers and authority. The resolution also rescinds resolutions approved for the mayor’s attendance as representative of the Town of Kearney at the District of Parry Sound Municipal Association meeting later in the month and the Almaguin Highlands OPP Detachment grand opening this Friday afternoon.
“And further directs staff to identify all other existing resolutions and bylaws approving the mayor’s attendance as an official representative of the Town of Kearney. Once compiled a motion to remove all official representative duties will be presented to council for approval,” states the resolution. “And further consistent with council’s objective of openness and transparency, a report identifying current remedial actions concerning the mayor that have been put in place and the cost for both the investigation and legal fees (year to date) be made public.”
On Sept. 7 council passed a resolution to censure the mayor for his behaviour.
“It’s a very serious thing to have happen,” said Sainsbury. “But it does not have any other penalty associated with it.”
Sainsbury says involving the Ministry may be one of the options brought forth at a future council meeting.
According to Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing spokesperson Richard Stromberg they cannot comment on specific cases.
“Ontario does not have recall legislation for elected municipal officials. Elected officials may serve their full term as long as they remain eligible to hold office. Section 259(1) of the Municipal Act, 2001 sets out how a seat may become vacant. Electors who believe a seat should be declared vacant should see legal advice,” he wrote to the Almaguin News in an email. “The McGuinty Government respects municipalities as responsible, accountable governments and believes they are capable of making their own decisions locally. The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing does not have statutory authority to remove a duly elected municipal representative from office.”