Skip to main content

'No authority to take such actions': Central Elgin mayor violated code of conduct

An Integrity Commissioner (IC) has ruled that Central Elgin Mayor Andrew Sloan has violated the municipality’s code of conduct on three separate occasions.

“I'm hoping that this will be a wake up call for my council about how we proceed from here,” said Central Elgin Coun. Morgan Halpin who brought the complaints to the IC.

The IC ruled Sloan was in violation when he directed former Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Paul Shipway to make changes to the procedural bylaw to add the national anthem before all meetings.

He also directed Shipway to exercise procurement powers to hire consultant Tim Dobbie without the authority to do so.

“We are unable accept the mayor’s inexperience as an excuse for his breach,” wrote Laura Dean, IC for the Municipality of Central Elgin. “The mayor should have been very cognizant that he did not have the authority to make this request and that it was a contravention of the Code.”

He also was in violation when he signed a non-disclosure agreement regarding the annexing of lands in order to receive confidential information.

Central Elgin Mayor Andrew Sloan spoke to former CAO Paul Shipway during a previous council meeting in this undated image. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

“In our view, a reasonably prudent mayor would ensure that actions taken on behalf of the municipal corporation are duly authorized as required by law,” wrote Dean. "The mayor had no unilateral executive authority at law to take such actions. He could not purport to rely on his powers as chief executive officer and as head of council to do so."

The IC is recommending council suspend the mayor’s remuneration for 30 days, and have the mayor issue a public apology stating he'll make efforts to understand and execute his role in accordance with the code.

“I think that 30 days is very reasonable in that we're not trying to make this overwhelming. I do agree that we are a new council, but it's important for our council to understand that there are rules and that there are standards that the community holds us to and I really hope that this will remind us all about how we should be proceeding,” said Halpin.

Halpin brought numerous complaints about the mayor and his “pattern of behaviour” to the IC.

“Unfortunately, even in a few of these cases where wrongdoing was not specifically found, I do still believe that based on some evidence I was made aware of but was not able to actually access in time, it's possible that the result would have been different,” said Halpin.

Central Elgin Councillor Morgaine Halpin, seen on September 11, 2023, brought complaints about Mayor Andrew Sloan to the Integrity Commissioner. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

Since Sloan and the new council took office, at least seven key staff members have left their positions, including two CAOs.

“It was total disrespect to Mr. Shipway that council had to approve something, and now the integrity commissioner has re-enforced that,” said Sally Martyn, former mayor of Central Elgin. “I worked with a wonderful staff that worked well together, they were a strong staff, and obviously if they are leaving they are not enjoying work at all right now.”

Monday night, council will decide whether the mayor will be punished.

“It is my hope is that our council will make a choice to accept the recommendations of the Integrity Commissioner,” said Halpin. “I hope that this is going to change the tone of the way we all operate together from here.”

The IC wrote in her report what could happen if things don’t change.

“The cumulative contraventions are not minor and, if left unchecked, could result in continued misconduct that could lead to an erosion of public trust,” said Dean.

CTV’s attempts to reach Mayor Sloan remained unanswered at the time of this article’s publication.

The full report can be found here. Top Stories

Stay Connected