By Mike Williscraft
A scathing Integrity Commissioner report tabled at Monday’s Grimsby Committee of the Whole meeting concludes Coun. Dave Sharpe breached the Town’s code of conduct on many fronts.
Several incidents stem from his attendance, comments and actions in support of the occupation of Ottawa during anti-COVID restriction protests.
Additionally, as Integrity Commissioner Michael Maynard conducted his investigation into Sharpe’s conduct, an additional component arose after an email from one of the four claimants in the case to council was circulated to a Facebook group, which resulted in considerable “negative consequences” for the complainant. This generated a claim that forwarding a constituent’s email to council to the Facebook group was an act of reprisal.
Maynard gave Sharpe an opportunity to clear things up as Sharpe contended he was only sharing information with a group being discussed in the correspondence, but when Maynard asked
if he would forward the email he had sent to the group, Sharpe refused.
“The Respondent (Sharpe) was provided with reasons for my request for the information; particularly, that I have before me a legitimate question of possible reprisal by him against the Complainant, and that in my view the information requested could be determinative of that issue. The Councillor refused to provide the information simply because he did not “want to”,” said Maynard in his report.
At the time, the litany of online commentary went so far as to accuse the complainant who wrote the email of circulating the message herself to the Facebook group so it could then be suggested Sharpe did it and further discredit him.
During the IC’s questioning, Sharpe admitted he forwarded the email.
After conducting his investigation, Maynard found Sharpe guilty of many infractions and recommended a rare suspension of Sharpe’s pay.
“I have found that the Councillor breached several provisions (of) the Code of Conduct on several occasions. His flagrant disregard for the rights and well-being of downtown Ottawa residents and for the laws and proclamations of police and the governments of the City of Ottawa and the Province of Ontario are in my view sufficient to warrant a sterner sanction than a formal reprimand by Council,” wrote Maynard.
“I accordingly recommend a suspension of Councillor Sharpe’s remuneration as a Member for a period of 15 days.”
Because Maynard could not be in attendance for Monday’s council meeting and because of time constraints with a fall election on the horizon, discussion on the report was referred to a special meeting of council to be held Monday, July 18 at 5 p.m.
The 44-page report goes into great detail on the many issues with this file. The full content of the document can be read on NewsNow’s website: wn3.ca