Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey acted in good faith and made an innocent mistake in the judgment when she tried to influence two regional council members to support a vote that would compensate her legal costs, according to a report from Region of Peel Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze.
Brampton Coun. John Sprovieri filed a suit against the mayor on November 30, 2017, claiming that Jeffrey had violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA) by trying to influence the vote of two councilors in a case where she had a financial conflict of interest
In his report Swayze says that he is not competent to handle a complaint under MCIA on the basis of existing legislation – but he felt obliged to give his opinion about the event.
Peel Council is expected to discuss Swayze’s report at the next meeting on Thursday, February 8.
Sprovieri called the report very disappointing. “It is so clear that the mayor has violated rules on conflicts of interest.”
“It starts with a technical twist,” Sprovieri said, adding that the Integrity Commissioner has no jurisdiction over MCIA. “Morally she is guilty of sin and she gets away with it.”
The report says that Jeffery was obliged to give personal legal advice on whether she had a conflict of interest with another regional issue – and that she wanted to be compensated by the region for her legal costs.
Jeffrey approached the regional clerk for advice and was told that she had to ask her lawyer to write to the council, so the item would be handled in private session and Jeffrey would have to report a conflict and leave the meeting when the subject was discussed.
The servant also prepared a draft resolution to approve the request that she sent to Jeffrey.
Jeffrey then called Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton Coun. Martin Medeiros asks them to move and repeat the movement when the item for the council was in closed session.
The motion was sent both by Medeiros and Crombie by Jeffrey or her Chief of Staff.
When the request was heard in closed session on November 23, 2017, Jeffrey met MCIA by declaring a conflict and leaving the meeting. Swayze’s report, however, says that Jeffrey admits having met with the two city councilors before the meeting to ask them to move and confirm the motion.
In a written response to the Integrity Commissioner about the complaint, Jeffrey said in each case that she followed the clerk’s advice and did not speak to any other member of the council except with Mayor Crombie and Coun. Medeiros, who submitted the letter from the notary and accompanying motion, drawn up by the clerk, for consideration.
“I believe I acted in good faith in the performance of my duties as a member of the regional council,” Jeffrey wrote.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: This story was updated on Tuesday 6 February at 3.39 pm