The Integrity Commissioner (IC) has determined that Central Elgin Mayor Andrew Sloan has thrice violated the municipality’s code of conduct, presenting an unexpected challenge to the power dynamics within the local government. The complaints were initially brought to the IC by Central Elgin Councillor, Morgan Halpin.
One of the cited incidences of violation involved Mayor Sloan instructing former Chief Administrative Officer, Paul Shipway, to adjust the procedural bylaw, incorporating the national anthem into all meetings. In another, Sloan allegedly ordered Shipway to utilize procurement powers to engage consultant Tim Dobbie, despite lacking the authority to do so.
Laura Dean, the IC for the municipality, expressed her stance on the matter declaring, “The mayor should have been very cognizant that he did not have the authority to make this request, noting that it is a violation of the conduct code. We are unable to accept inexperience as an argument for these breaches.”
Additionally, Mayor Sloan supposedly signed a non-disclosure agreement, securing confidential information in relation to land annexation activities, a third instance of violation. Dean emphasized that any actions taken on behalf of the municipal corporation should be “duly authorized as required by law” and that a mayor does not possess “unilateral executive authority” to perform such actions.
The IC is now proposing Mayor Sloan’s remuneration be suspended for thirty days, while requesting a public apology wherein the mayor pledges to better grasp and carry out his role, adhering to the established code.
“The 30-day suspension seems quite reasonable,” stated Halpin, adding a gentle rebuke at the mayor’s behavior, which deviated from community standards.
After Mayor Sloan and the new council took office, seven key staffers have reportedly resigned from their roles, including two Chief Administrative Officers. Sally Martyn, former Central Elgin mayor, expressed her dismay at this development, indicating a potential disharmony within the council.
The council will determine on Monday whether Mayor Sloan will face proposed sanctions. Halpin expressed her hope that the council would adhere to the IC’s recommendations, aiming at enhancing unity and efficiency throughout the council.
The IC emphasized in her report that if current misconduct persists, damage could occur to the public trust due to ongoing contraventions. Meanwhile, attempts to contact Mayor Sloan for comments have proven unsuccessful.