The decision to ask London’s integrity commissioner to launch a formal investigation into the affair between Matt Brown and Maureen Cassidy has been deferred until council meets on Thursday.
Members of council’s corporate services committee met Monday afternoon, weighing a motion by Ward 7 Coun. Josh Morgan that would see council formally ask Greg Stewart, London’s new integrity commissioner, head an inquiry into the affair that saw the mayor take a leave of absence and Cassidy resign from her post as deputy mayor.
After going in-camera for more than two hours, Ward. 12 Coun. Harold Usher moved that no action be taken until councillors could be advised by legal staff and make a decision during the next full council meeting, scheduled for Thursday.
Ward 4’s Jesse Helmer said he thought it was “appropriate” to defer the issue to Thursday, pending “further advice.”
In addition to the investigation, Morgan also called for Stewart’s recommendations to be made public.
Stewart met with Brown last week after it was revealed he’d had an extramarital affair with Cassidy. As Stewart was acting in a strictly advisory capacity, any recommendations made to Brown won’t be made public. The integrity commissioner is available to any councillors wishing to seek advice, though Brown agreed to foot the bill for the meeting personally.
Stewart told AM980 last week that in order for him to begin an investigation, several criteria must be met.
“It has to be a formal complaint in the context that it outlines what the issue is, what the basis is and someone attaches their name to it and requests that I look into it,” Stewart said.
There are also steps he must take after he receives the formal complaint before he begins to probe the case, including establishing whether he feels the issue warrants an investigation at all and if so, what kind.
He acknowledged that he has received several “comments” from Londoners, and said in a Toronto Star interview that the allegations about Brown and Cassidy seemed “trite.”
Stewart said his assessment could range from asking the interested parties questions all the way up to a formal public inquiry.
“Clearly it’s an issue that there’s enough concern out there that I have to look at it and I have to give consideration to it,” Stewart said. “I’ve had all sorts of emails and they’ve gone from serious questions to some that were quite frankly a little odd.”
He’s been hired for a three-year term to investigate City Hall concerns on an as needed basis for $250/hr plus expenses