Suspicion ombudsman complaint settling old scores
Published Friday, July 18, 2014 5:56PM EDT
With the Ontario ombudsman’s office investigating the actions of city council again, some are suggesting there’s a political motive behind the anonymous complaint.
The only people at the Top of the Hall Cafe during the night in question were councillors and city staff.
The investigation pertains to events leading up to the selection of Russ Monteith as the new Ward 5 councillor last month.
The ombudsman is looking into suggestions some council members discussed the selection of candidates during dinner at the cafe.
Coun. Paul Hubert thinks the motives behind those complaints also need to be scrutinized.
“Someone might be trying to distract. Someone might be trying to find the limelight and I will let the public figure out who those people are.”
The ombudsman, Andre Marin, does not conduct a full investigation into every complaint he receives so that suggests there must be at least some compelling reason that he wants to know more about what transpired on the evening of June 24.
City hall has until next Friday to turn over the minutes of the meeting that night and any related emails, memos and other documents.
Investigators also want any security camera video of the cafeteria during the dinner.
Coun. Denise Brown says the only time she spoke about Monteith that night was before eating.
“I spoke to two councillors about Mr. Monteith because they worked with him and I wanted their thoughts about him before I made my decision. But that was the extent of it.”
Hubert is confident that no conversations he heard came even close to violating the Municipal Act.
“There were some names maybe bantered about, but the name of Russ Monteith I had heard mentioned even prior to that day so that was no new revelation.”
Monteith says he received a pair of calls from council members he declined to identify.
“Sometime on Sunday of that week or Monday, I received another phone call and the caller asked the same question - a different caller - but the same question: ‘Are you interested in taking the position?’ ”
Brown says council was doing its due diligence before a vote and thinks the Ombudsman's office is being used to settle old scores.
“I don't think it’s being used appropriately this time. I think this is political and nothing but political.”