Council adopts options cited in CAO investigation

By Mike Williscraft
NewsNow

A report with findings and recommendations regarding an investigation into the conduct of CAO Harry Schlange was approved last Thursday, June 4, at a special meeting of Grimsby council.

Schlange was on the job and attended a Niagara Region chief administrative officer meeting Friday morning.

The motion – regarding the report submitted by John Curtis – approved at Thursday’s meeting read:

“Resolved that Council direct the Mayor, Clerk and Legal Counsel to proceed with implementing all the recommendations as listed in the confidential closed session investigation report by John Curtis.”

The third party investigation – set in motion by council at a meeting on Feb. 10 – arose after a situation the previous week when Schlange had been placed on administrative leave by Mayor Jeff Jordan.

Jordan attempted to call an emergency meeting of council on Feb. 5 but only Councillors Reg Freake, Dorothy Bothwell and Lianne Vardy showed up in addition to the mayor. Councillors Dave Sharpe, John Dunstall, Dave Kadwell and Randy Vaine did not show up and gave no notice. Coun. Kevin Ritchie was on vacation.

All showed up on Feb. 10 to approve a motion which would reinstate Schlange, force the mayor to issue an apology and set the investigation in motion.

Curtis, a lawyer from Kingston, conducted the investigation and presented his findings at last week’s meeting.

A copy of the report has been formally requested by NewsNow. No response was received by press time.

The motion approved by council last week does not cite the measures to be taken merely that Curtis’s “options” be implemented.

The Feb. 10 meeting at which the investigation was approved was highly contentious. When the motion to reinstate was finalized in a 5-4 vote (with Kadwell, Ritchie, Vaine, Sharpe and Dunstall voting in favour), about a dozen town staff who were in the gallery abruptly rose up and departed the council chambers. Several of the female staff were in tears in the lobby area after the meeting.

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