This is a report on a complaint filed in accordance with the Code of Conduct with
the Municipality of Central Elgin regarding an incident at a Central Elgin Council
Meeting on June 26th, 2017.
Report on a Complaint
filed in accordance with the
Code of Conduct (Affidavit)
Municipality of Central Elgin
Prepared by: John G.Maddox, JGM Consulting
As the Integrity Commissioner for the Municipality of Central Elgin I received -
via the Clerk's office a complaint under your Code of Conduct. The appropriate fee
and affidavit were filed in the office of the Municipal Clerk.
The affidavit is dated August 8th, 2017 and identifies two sections of your Code
of Conduct, Section B (7) -- Avoidance of Waste and Section C (1) (2) -- Human Rights
and Harassment. The complaint alleges that two members may be in breach of the Code
of Conduct. I have had an opportunity to speak to Municipal Officials - the complainant
and the two members that are under challenge on this matter.
As Integrity Commissioner, my role is to assess the behaviour of individual members
with respect to complaints and does not include any review of the decision-making
process. My initial review of this matter suggests that very clearly a part of these
concerns rests with the Council decision process pertaining to a matter that was
before Council. A ratepayer in the Municipality appeared as a delegation to Council
on June 26th, 2017 to make her concerns known to Council. The complainant alleges
that upon completion of her presentation two members of Council made remarks that
were "unwelcome" and in fact contrary to the standards outlined in the Code of Conduct.
Thus, the reference to the Sections of the Code of Conduct that were identified
in the Affidavit.
The Municipal Code of Conduct very clearly sets standards that are expected to be
adhered to by all members on all occasions. The Code of Conduct does suggest that
Council has the obligation "To treat every person with dignity, understanding and
The remarks following the presentation are clearly the catalyst for this Complaint.
The complainant has acknowledged that the decision-making process of Council is
not something on which I have any jurisdiction as Integrity Commissioner and consequently
will not involve myself in that discussion. The complainant further acknowledged
that the Council decision regarding this matter (portable washroom) is a separate
I have had an opportunity to discuss this situation (incident) with all of those
who were directly involved in this and on that basis do have a much better understanding
of the background that led to the June 26th incident and the subsequent Complaint.
I have had an opportunity to examine the circumstances around this Complaint and
am satisfied that the facts and discussions around this matter are not in dispute.
There are two sections of the Code of Conduct that have been identified and I will
deal with each of them separately:
SECTION B (7)-Avoidance of Waste
The Complaint does not identify any specific waste other than to suggest the expenditures
related to this matter were "wasteful". In my opinion, the decision to spend any
money on this matter was one made by Council as a group. I have no evidence to suggest
that an "individual member of Council" demonstrated ''wasteful" behaviour. The decision
to expend funds on this project was the responsibility of Council and they exercised
SECTION C (1) (2) - Human Rights Guarantees not to engage in Harassment.
This component of the Complaint is not as straight forward - the "Code of Conduct"
does suggest in part that Council has the obligation "To treat every person with
dignity, respect and understanding."
That clearly sets the stage for a level of conduct that provides for ratepayers
to feel comfortable in addressing concerns to Council in a way that would provide
for a reasonable dialogue.
Council in their Code of Conduct have set standards that insure visitors to Council
are treated with dignity, respect and understanding. The members of Council have
committed to these standards.
The Human Rights and Harassment component of this complaint leaves me with a dilemma
- I don't believe that there is sufficient evidence for me to rule in favour of
this Complaint. There are a lot of elements to a Human Rights challenge (Harassment)
for which I find not sufficient evidence to rule in favour of the complainant in
I do however, in my role as Integrity Commissioner feel obligated to comment further
about the incident of June 26th, 2017. I cannot condone the exchange that has been
identified in the Complaint - the facts are not in dispute and I believe that kind
of dialogue does not live up to the standards outlined in your Code of Conduct -
while I don't believe it to constitute harassment it is clearly inappropriate and
does not serve the interest and business decorum of the Council chamber. An apology
may well be in order.
I believe it would be helpful for all members to review and understand the commitment
that your Code of Conduct provides in establishing a public trust that is one of
the cornerstones to healthy democracy.
I can recommend external resources to provide guidance in this regard if you wish.
John J. Maddox