By John Swartz
Orillia council begins its meeting schedule Monday with a closed session at 4:45 p.m. There is only one item on the agenda and it is to discuss the recruitment of a director of business development communications and strategic initiatives. Council recently created two new management positions for a realigned administrative structure and reporting hierarchy. The agenda notes do not give any information whether this meeting is to discuss a specific applicant or choice for the position.
When council meets at 6 p.m. for its regular meeting the first order of business is to award the annual Athlete of the Year.
Cipolla In Hot Seat
The next item is a report from the City’s integrity commissioner, ruling on a complaint over a parking ticket issued last October. A by-law officer only referred to as Sara in the report, alleged that Cipolla wanted her to, “cancel a ticket instead of following appropriate policy, he raised his voice at her, intimidated her, and made her feel uncomfortable when he patted her shoulder.”
At issue is a parking ticket for a car parked in an accessible space. There was a permit on the dash but the permit number and date was covered, which are supposed to be visible. The officer took a photo and issued a ticket.
The owner of the car had no luck getting the ticket cancelled and contacted Cipolla who then went to City Hall and spoke with the officer.
The integrity commissioner likened it to, “if an elected member of parliament contacted the police or the Crown’s office to try to have a charge dropped. This could be seen as an attempt to obstruct justice.”
The report states that Cipolla went to the by-law office to speak with the officer with the intention of having the ticket cancelled and that Cippolla characterized his dealing with the office as a request and he was trying to help rather than give direction to the officer. The commissioner also had problems with Cipolla standing while the officer was sitting having the effect of intimidating the officer. The commissioner also said the pat on the back made the officer feel Cipolla was being paternalistic and condescending.
The commissioner found Cipolla violated the City’s code of conduct on these points:
27.12.4 by directing inquiries to staff other than the CAO or appropriate member of Senior Management
27.12.5 by giving direction, as a single Member of Council, to an employee
27.12.7 by engaging in conduct which interfered with or unduly influenced an employee in the performance of her duties
27.12.8 by making a request or taking an action which could be construed as an attempt to influence the administration of justice
27.12.9 by using their authority or influence for the purpose of intimidating or influencing any employee with the intent of interfering with the employee’s duties.
The commissioner recommends council pass a resolution, “That having been found to have breached the City of Orillia’s Council Code of Conduct, Councillor Cipolla’s pay be suspended for a period of 5 days.” And that the report be published on the City’s website.
Two Housing Projects Up For Approval
Applications for zoning amendments and other approvals relating to development at 144 Elgin Street and at 309 Colborne Street may pass final hurdles Monday evening.
(Photo by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)