(Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

Recent media reports have indicated that in November 2018 a formal complaint was filed with the municipality’s Integrity Commissioner alleging that a member of Chatham-Kent Council had breached the Council Code of Conduct.

“An investigation by the Integrity Commissioner is ongoing,” stated the Municipality’s Chief Legal Officer, John Norton, in a press release on Wednesday.

“In terms of process, I understand that on Monday the Integrity Commissioner conducted an interview and is now finalizing his report. I expect it will take several more weeks before he finalizes his report and submits it for council’s consideration.”

Municipal officials say in 2016, council appointed Mr. Paul Watson to act as Integrity Commissioner for Chatham-Kent.

Mr. Watson is a local lawyer and former member of council who was also recently appointed as the Integrity Commissioner for the City of Sarnia.

“Municipal councils are required to appoint an Integrity Commissioner who is responsible for performing, in an independent manner, investigations into alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct,” Norton stated.

“The Integrity Commissioner does not report to, and is not accountable to, any member of the municipal staff.”

Once the Integrity Commissioner’s final report is received by the Municipal Clerk, it will be made available to the public as is required by provincial law, municipal officials say.

The role of council, once the final investigative report is received, is to make final decisions based on recommendations, if any, contained in the final investigative report, municipal officials say.

To date the Integrity Commissioner has not provided a final investigative report to the municipality.

“In my opinion, it would be inappropriate for staff or members of council to make comments about this matter while the Integrity Commissioner continues his investigation,” Norton added.

Until the Integrity Commissioner has provided his final report, senior municipal staff will continue their arm’s length participation, cooperating with the Integrity Commissioner as requested.