Grimsby council votes against third-party audit after breach of conduct cost breakdown

·2 min read

Grimsby council voted down a third-party audit in relation to a breach of conduct committed by Mayor Jeff Jordan after a review of the breakdown of costs incurred by the town.

At the committee of the whole meeting on March 1, Grimsby council reviewed the $1302.62 charged to the town as a result of a breach of conduct by Mayor Jeff Jordan.

The breakdown for the cost outlined 2.6 hours of phone calls between Jordan, CAO Harry Schlange and an anonymous individual, broken up between three phone calls of various lengths, each with a charge of $440 per hour. This totalled $1,144 and a $9 telephone conference charge and HST, that number was finalized as $1302.62.

On Feb 1, Jordan was found by integrity commissioner Charles Harnick to have violated conduct due to email/correspondence between the mayor and an anonymous individual in relation to a closed session council meeting in July 2020. When the charge to the town was presented at the Feb 16th meeting, council voted to have Jordan pay back this amount.

During the meeting on March 1, a motion was brought forth by Coun. Dorothy Bothwell to see if council's previous decision to have the mayor pay back the money was a violation of the municipal act. This motion was then deemed a reconsideration by council and no vote for a reconsideration was accounted for, so Bothwell’s motion was dismissed.

A motion to have a third party audit of the breach was then forwarded by Coun. Lianne Vardy. She cited her reason for this being a lack of public trust expressed by constituents, who per the motion, are hesitant to communicate by email, “as they fear an invasion of their privacy or the possibility of being 'targeted' by the Town.”

Among others, one of the listed resolutions in the motion was “that the CAO reassure Council and residents and restore public trust that a remedy to this breach has been implemented and email security will be vigorously monitored.”

Coun. Kevin Ritchie, who had come into possession of the email correspondence, then explained to council that the correspondence did not include Town of Grimsby emails nor did Harnick’s report conclude that the breach was that of the security of the town itself.

The motion for an audit was defeated as Dunstall, Kadwell, Ritchie, Sharpe and Vaine voted against, with Bothwell, Freake, Vardy and Jordan voting in favour.

Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News