By Mike Williscraft
When five members of Grimsby council voted Feb. 16 to have Mayor Jeff Jordan pay a $1,300 invoice after he made an inquiry regarding a security breach, they did so without all the details in front of them.
At the March 1 Committee of The Whole meeting the invoice in question was presented. It showed the mayor’s initial calls – after emails from Jordan to “the individual” somehow showed up at the home of Coun. Kevin Ritchie – were billed at $264.
The matter arose after the emails were discussed in a closed session of council in July 2020. A subsequent Integrity Commissioner complaint filed by Coun. Randy Vaine – due to the mayor mentioning an item discussed in a closed session – was found that the action was “trivial” and “of no consequence” by IC Charles Harnick, a past solicitor general of the Province of Ontario.
Regardless, Ritchie, Vaine, Coun. John Dunstall, Coun. Dave Kadwell and Coun. Dave Sharpe voted to have the mayor pay for the full amount of the invoice for the initial calls as well as any of the subsequent follow up which resulted from that action.
The IC complaint cost the Town of Grimsby in excess of $8,000 on its own, with the tab from complaints filed in 2020 hitting about $40,000 in total. The vast majority of those came from one councillor filing a complaint against another.
Under the Municipal Act, the actions of the five councillors is without merit, as Coun. Dorothy Bothwell noted at the March 1 meeting.
Mayor Jordan has commented very little on the matter other than to make a brief statement at the end of the lengthy and tumultuous Feb. 16 debate, when he said, “When I recited my oath on Dec. 3, 2018, I promised to do my fiduciary duty and to always act in good faith towards the Town of Grimsby and I have always acted in the best interests of the Town and I will continue to do so. And I will leave it at that.”