KEARNEY – A resolution to relieve Mayor Paul Tomlinson of his duties was withdrawn, however it still appears his council is not prepared to let the matter of bullying slide.
Coun. Steve Sainsbury withdrew a resolution on the Sept. 21 special council meeting agenda that would “authorize council to request a delegation with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, formally requesting assistance in utilizing legislative authority to commence action to remove the mayor of the Town of Kearney from office.”
The resolution also contained an item to rescind portions of resolutions approving the mayor’s attendance at the OPP grand opening on Sept. 21 and the District of Parry Sound Municipal Association Fall meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Sept. 28.
Tomlinson excused himself from the portion of the meeting where his future as mayor was being discussed, declaring a conflict of pecuniary interest.
Sainsbury replaced with withdrawn resolution with another that would authorize him to contact the Town’s municipal lawyer to seek legal advice in matters concerning the mayor.
Deputy mayor Louise Wadsworth, although acknowledging that legal advice was needed, questioned whether it should be Sainsbury who sought it.
“I think that council as a whole needs advice from the municipal lawyer,” said Wadsworth.
She also stated that council as a whole should form the questions to the lawyer and receive the legal advice the same way.
“I do not believe that it is in the best interest of council or the Town to have one person speaking on behalf of council,” she said, proposing that the resolution be amended.
However, Coun. Yvonne Wills disagreed, stating that they follow previously set protocols designating one person to liaise between council and the legal team, although agreed that council should draft the questions to be posed.
Wadsworth also questioned whether that person should be Sainsbury.
“According to normal procedures, if the mayor is not able to fulfill a duty that would normally fall to the next in line, which as you know is the deputy mayor,” she said. “Do we have any problem with that.”
Wadsworth is the deputy mayor. She is also one of the two of six members of council who did not vote to ask the mayor to resign by resolution at a previous council meeting.
Tomlinson’s leadership has been in question since the Sept. 7 meeting of council when a resolution was passed calling for his resignation after a workplace harassment complaint. At the same meeting the mayor apologized for creating anxiety, expense and distraction with his behaviour and even offered to take sensitivity training. He did, however, remain steadfast in serving out his term.
At the Sept. 21 meeting, Coun. Ken Ball, stated that since Sainsbury has been in contact with issues concerning the mayor he should continue to do so.
“I would favour a proposal of all council being involved so we all have identical information,” said Coun. Barry Dingwall, who was the other member of council to vote against the previous resolution.
“There is always something lost in interpretation of emphasis when you’re filtering it through someone else,” he said. “I do not have a problem personally with Mr. Sainsbury but I think it would be beneficial in this situation, because it is a sensitive situation, for all of us to be getting the identical information at the same time.”
Two resolutions were tabled, the first substituted Sainsbury with council as a whole to seek legal advice. That resolution was defeated in a recorded vote with only Wadsworth and Dingwall voting in favour.
The second resolution was amended by Sainsbury to coordinate questions of council and present the feedback from the lawyers to council.
That resolution was passed by recorded vote with only Wadsworth and Dingwall voting against.