On Thursday, September 8th, The Orangeville Banner released an article titled ‘Peel Cops Clear Mayor Williams of any credit card wrongdoing’. Instantly, social media erupted in a frenzy of congratulations to the Mayor and with that of course came the conspiracy theories. The accusations go as far as saying that previous Mayor Rob Adams has been the puppet master…that Deputy Mayor Maycock led the whole charade for his own gain…that the ‘4’ Councillors are working together to “get rid of the Mayor”….basically that it is all just a ‘Witchhunt’.
I read the story (and of course the social media following) but have been waiting for a little more information to come out before I shared my humble opinions on the matter.
More information did come out at last night’s Town of Orangeville Council Meeting when Council voted in favour of waiving their Attorney/Client privilege on the report that was presented to Council back in March 2016 that led to Council directing the CAO to have Peel Regional Police to begin an investigation into the Mayor’s credit card use. This motion was brought forward by Deputy Mayor Maycock and when he was asked why he would table a motion of this nature, he responded by acknowledging that the public perception is that Council makes decisions on a whim and he thinks it is only fair to share with the public the legal advice they received before pursuing a criminal investigation. His motion passed with a clear majority…in fact, the only person who voted against having the report released was Mayor Williams.
Now this report is an interesting one. It really shows there are a number of sides to every story. In a Facebook post on March 17th, 2016, Mayor Williams posted his account of the story basically claiming ignorance – “There also was no official policy or agreement given me with the card to explain a procedure for use of the card.” Well the report from the Town’s lawyers tells a very different story. The legal report speaks to the number of documented conversations that the CAO and other Town Staff had with the Mayor beginning in August 2015 about the proper procedures surrounding the credit card such as procedures for claiming mileage (via a mileage log – as per the Town Bylaws), proper procedures for office expenses (as per the Town Bylaws), as well as the Town’s policy on personal expenditures. Yet, after these documented conversations, there continued to be unauthorized purchases made…which is why the Town of Orangeville’s legal counsel sent the report to Council recommending that they pursue a criminal investigation with the Peel Police Department.
When my son was 3 years old, he used to love to throw rocks. We would give him trouble day after day and yet he would continue to throw rocks. His intent was not to hurt anyone. His intent was not to cause any damage, but yet the moment we turned our backs, he would throw another rock. And we would start another lecture about how inappropriate his behaviour was and how eventually he was going to hurt someone or something. Mayor Williams, STOP THROWING ROCKS!!!!
Now, I know it is easy to blame Deputy Mayor for being the ‘RingLeader’ in this ‘Witchhunt’…the division in Council has been apparent since Day 1. This report from legal shows that the Town of Orangeville Auditors were the ones who initially raised concerns. At what point are we going to demand some onus on the Mayor for his actions? For violating our trust in his integrity? Whether you like and support the Mayor is irrelevant in this case – in my humble opinion, this was a clear breach of public trust and I am upset with Mayor Williams that he caused me (and the rest of the citizens of Orangeville) to question his integrity.
I am however happy to report that it was confirmed at last night’s Council Meeting that there will be no charge to the Town of Orangeville from the Peel Police Department for conducting the investigation.
I have received information from the Town Clerk that the report will not be posted on the Town of Orangeville website, however if you are wishing to obtain a copy, it will be available by request by emailing Susan Greatrix at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would love to hear how you feel about the entire situation…