City hall’s new watchdog says “there’s enough concern out there that I have to look at it” in regards to the affair between Mayor Matt Brown and former Deputy Mayor Maureen Cassidy.
A day after meeting with Brown to discuss next steps, Integrity Commissioner Greg Stewart spoke to AM980 about the possibility of an investigation.
“First of all, I have to decide whether or not it warrants an investigation. Then having made that determination, what type of investigation it requires, which can range all the way from asking some questions of people to a formal public inquiry,” he said.
Stewart says he’s received a wide range of “serious questions” to “odd” messages in regards to the scandal that rocked city hall earlier this week.
Both Brown and Cassidy admitted to an “inappropriate” affair over the course of a brief period of time while in office. They have both taken leaves from their council duties while forgoing pay. A spokesperson with the Mayor’s office said that Brown would also foot the bill for Thursday’s meeting.
Meanwhile, Councillor Josh Morgan is planning on tabling a motion next week to get Stewart to investigate and make his findings public.
“I think what I’m trying to do here is clarify for the integrity commissioner that council sees this as something that we want to report on. So it is a matter of public interest, it is a matter of council interest and we can definitively deal with this,” he said. “We need to use the tools that we have in place, the integrity commissioner being one of them. We hired this guy to do this exact sort of stuff, and if ever there is a time that we would engage one of those tools, now is the time.”
However, Stewart said that just because he receives formal complaints regarding an issue, does not necessarily mean he will look into them.
“If I receive a request to conduct an investigation from anyone, I have to look at that request, and then I have to decide based on that request and based on the situation whether or not I should do an investigation,” he said. “Just because somebody writes to me and says something, doesn’t mean I have to do it.”
The integrity commissioner does not hand down a decision that council then must oblige by. Rather, Stewart can make a recommendation for council to then follow if there is a violation of the code of conduct.
Morgan will table his motion on Tuesday at the Corporate Services Committee meeting.