What started as a relatively uneventful and calm Council meeting turned sour awfully quickly under the ‘New Business’ portion of the meeting. Councillor Bradley addressed Council, but specifically the two members who hold seats on the Police Services Board (PSB), Councillor Campbell and Mayor Williams. Her concern was a recent story that was published in the Orangeville Banner on September 18th in regards to a settlement being reached in a lawsuit filed against the Orangeville Police Service related to the tragic death of Heidi Ferguson.
Councillor Bradley cited concerns with members of Council not being notified of this settlement (which according to the Banner’s article, was reached in November 2016), whether or not the taxpayers of Orangeville are paying for this settlement, as well as why it is only being published now, rather than 10 months ago when it happened.
Mayor Williams began his rebuttal stating that perhaps her questions were better suited for a PSB meeting and that often in cases of this nature, part of the settlement agreement prevents the information from being made public. Mayor Williams repeatedly said that all of the relevant and public information was part of the press release.
Councillor Bradley, unsatisfied with this answer, again asked Mayor Williams about the press release…when was it sent out? The settlement was almost a year ago…why would a press release be issued now? At this point, Mayor Williams became noticeably frustrated. and replied “If you’re looking for exact dates, which seems to be your question, I’m not an encyclopedia. I would really refer you to the police service board’s secretary. She could give you exact dates and a copy of the press release, which I think is on the police website as well.”
**Sidebar** I receive all press releases. There was no press release issued. And there was nothing posted on the Orangeville Police Services website. But, I immediately did my due diligence and double-checked my emails as well as the website in case I did miss something…Nope…nothing there. I also have since reached out to the Chair of the PSB, Ken Krakar, who confirmed with this reply….“Per your request, and at the advice of counsel, we can confirm a settlement was reached, on November 15, 2016. Any and all terms of the settlement are confidential pursuant to a non-disclosure provision. A press release was not issued in accordance with this non-disclosure provision.”
The portion of the meeting for bylaws became very strange as well. Typically motions to pass bylaws are a formality as all of the discussion leading to the enactment of a bylaw have already occurred. On Monday night, Councillor Kidd asked to vote separately on the bylaw that would officially renew Guy Giorno’s term as Orangeville’s Integrity Commissioner. After voting on the other bylaws, Councillor Kidd spoke out stating that he could not support this due to the cost of having an Integrity Commissioner. Town Clerk, Susan Greatrix interjected to inform Council that as of March 2019, it has been made mandatory for Ontario municipalities to have an Integrity Commissioner.
Councillors Kidd and Garisto along with Mayor Williams voted against the motion. With the absence of Councillor Wilson from the meeting, that created a tie – hence the motion failed.
Following the vote, the Mayor asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting which was supported by all of Council with the exception of Deputy Mayor Maycock. As members of Town staff and Council were packing up their belongings, the Deputy Mayor was obviously frustrated. He stood with papers in hand exclaiming that he just didn’t understand what happened. He held the minutes from a previous Council meeting held on August 21st, 2017 where the motion to renew the appointment of the Integrity Commissioner was carried unanimously!!!
The Deputy Mayor was obviously flustered, as was the clerk. With that motion already carrying at a previously meeting, can this even happen? I am eagerly awaiting a response from Susan Greatrix to confirm with her what happens now and I will provide an update as soon as I receive it.
UPDATE: I received the following response from Susan Greatrix in regards to this item:
“Although the August 21st motion was unanimous, Mayor Williams and Councillors Garisto and Campbell were absent from the meeting.
Just to add fuel to the fire, Councillor Don Kidd then says to the Deputy Mayor; “I think it’s time for you to retire.” Deputy Mayor Maycock proceeds to walk towards the door but instead turned and walked towards the gallery and walked up behind me. He then announces that the biggest mistake he has made through this term of Council was not complying with “this young lady’s” request to resign. (This was in reference to the Open Letter that I wrote to Town Council back in September 2016 requesting resignations from all members of Council.) Unfortunately, because the motion to adjourn had already carried, Rogers TV had already ceased filming and everything after the adjournment was not caught on camera.
The Good Stuff
There were a few good things that came out of this meeting as well. For starters, congratulations to the Communities in Bloom Committee! Ted Zarundy spoke and presented Council with the 2 awards that were won at the National level – ‘5 Bloom Bronze’ and ‘Community of Gardeners’! Way to go!
Members of the Orangeville Legion were present to request that the Lorne Scots Memorial Monument be placed in Alexandra Park. Despite Councillor Kidd’s objection to their request, stating that he would like to see it placed in Greenwood Cemetery or at ODSS instead, their request was carried.
The 2017 Accessibility plan was presented to Council. Councillor Gail Campbell along with the Director of Parks and Rec, Ray Osmond, highlighted some of the great things that are coming including the completion of a walkway around the cenotaph to ensure that the area is accessible for everyone in time for Remembrance Day.
The next meeting of Council is scheduled to take place on Monday October 16th, 2017 at 7pm inside Council Chambers.