Saskatoon city hall explores options after public concerns raised against Randy Donauer

Saskatoon city councillors navigate the options available to them after concerns were raised about Coun. Randy Donauer's alleged conduct. (Guy Quenneville/CBC - image credit)
Saskatoon city councillors navigate the options available to them after concerns were raised about Coun. Randy Donauer's alleged conduct. (Guy Quenneville/CBC - image credit)

Saskatoon's city solicitor presented council with a report Monday about options available to them after public concerns were raised about Ward 5 Coun. Randy Donauer's conduct.

Two former students of Christian Centre Academy and the adjacent Saskatoon Christian Centre church, now called Legacy Christian Academy and Mile Two Church, allege Donauer hit them with a large wooden paddle in a discipline process known as paddling.

On Oct. 24, Mayor Charlie Clark made a motion at council's governance and priorities meeting requesting the report into the city's options .

City of Saskatoon
City of Saskatoon

While members of city council are elected for four-year terms, they can only be disqualified or removed from office for reasons outlined in the Cities Act.

"The act also requires the council to enact a code of conduct for members of council. Pursuant to the code, council has appointed an integrity commissioner," Cindy Yelland, the city solicitor, said presenting the report shortly after Donauer was asked to momentarily leave the room.

"If the integrity commissioner determines the code has been violated and a complaint is substantiated, the commissioner will report to a public council meeting the findings along with recommendations for possible censure, sanctions or corrective actions."

City council can consider the report and decide which course of action it wants to pursue. Yelland said that there are legislative, bylaw and policy requirements that apply to conduct of members of the council.

"But to be clear, members of the council cannot be removed from office for violations of the code of conduct," she said.

City of Saskatoon
City of Saskatoon

Some possible sanctions may include publishing a letter of reprimand or request for apology and requiring the member to attend training.

Suspending or removing a member from council committees, or from a position of chairperson of a council committee may be other sanctions available to the council, if it reaches a majority decision.

"The reality is that city council has established that we don't put ourselves in a position to impose actions without the process of an investigation that is what the integrity commissioner is in place for," Clark said.

"I recognize that it's taking courage for students to bring forward these allegations and in doing so they are putting faith in investigative processes to ensure accountability and hopefully find some closure."

Former student and church member Coy Nolin made a statement to police regarding Donauer, describing an alleged paddling incident by Donauer at a church camp.

Another former student said Donauer paddled them nearly a dozen times, sometimes while the student's pants were off.

In a previous statement, Donauer declined interview requests, but denied any wrongdoing.

"If there are rumours being shared about me, I vehemently deny any wrongdoing," he wrote in a statement to CBC News.

"If any legal claims involving me are made I will vigorously defend [against] them."