Coun. Vernon Hermer will be required to apologize to Council and “send a follow-up email to a resident correcting his (Hermer’s) inaccurate statement” following a charge that Hermer breeched Council’s code of conduct in an email to a resident.
Specifically, the issue was referring to the matter of renovations/retrofits/additions to the municipal building. When a resident sent an email questioning the project, Hermer responded in part: “believe me, I don’t feel that the residents position or opinion concerning this project was respected or even considered in their decision to move forward.”
Originally, the matter was to be discussed under closed session (identifiable individual) but Hermer himself insisted that it be brought into open session.
Mayor Ron Higgins said he found Hermer’s remarks “disrespectful” and “inaccurate because we did consider the opinion of residents.”
Coun. John Inglis agreed.
“I felt offended,” Inglis said. “We took in all the input and decided on it as a Council.
“As a person who has received a sanction in the past, I understand (and) I support his right to tell a constituent he disagreed with the decision.”
Higgins also recommended to Council that the Township appoint an integrity commissioner because without one, they can’t impose penalties such as committee appointments and/or remuneration.
For his part, Hermer argued that the Township’s procedural bylaw contravened the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ provisions for freedom of speech.
On North Frontenac Council, at least, it seems that speech may be free but still carries consequences
Other Items From Council
Higgins to replace Bedard on Joint Fire Board
Mayor Ron Higgins will replace Coun. Denis Bedard on the joint fire committee with Addington Highland Township.
“I wanted to do this so that heads of council from both townships were represented on this,” Higgins said.
When the possibility of renegotiating the agreement came up, Higgins said: “I’m not comfortable discussing some of these things without Addington Highlands representatives at the table.”
North Frontenac will now be accepting payments via debit and credit cards.
“This is a great leap forward,” said Coun. John Inglis.
Chaos at the waste sites?
With new rules coming to the landfills, Coun. Denis Bedard wondered “there will be chaos for a period of time, should there be a grace period?”
Public Works Manager Jim Phillips reminded Council that the new rules would be going out with tax notices.