A London councillor calls the contents of recently unearthed emails between Mayor Matt Brown and Councillor Maureen Cassidy unsurprising, and that the integrity commissioner should not look into them.
Freedom of Information Requests made by AM980 reveal candid discussions about Cassidy’s planned bid for a seat on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and poverty panel recommendations, among other issues.
The emails would suggest preferential treatment by the mayor for Cassidy, but Councillor Phil Squire said he isn’t surprised by the content of the communications.
“We have a situation where it’s really hard to tell what was being done on merit and what was being done because of a possible relationship,” he said. “It’s also troublesome because we don’t know when the relationship happened, we don’t know anything about that. I have been outspoken that I think you can’t separate this kind of relationship from what happened politically at city hall, and I think these emails confirm that to some extent.”
Squire noted through the emails that Cassidy “was being given opportunities to bring matters forward that others weren’t.”
The mayor and former deputy mayor were embroiled in a scandal when it was revealed back in June that the two had engaged in an extra-marital affair.
Cassidy stepped down from her position as deputy mayor and took the summer off, while Brown returned to work one week after the revelation.
About one week later, Integrity Commissioner Gregory Stewart released a report that found the affair between Brown and Cassidy violated three codes of conduct.
The report offered no recommendations, but both Brown and Cassidy received verbal reprimands from council.
Squire said this time around, getting Stewart involved would be unnecessary.
“These will be issues that they will deal with if they run again, and I think that’s fair ball. I think the people who vote should say, look, this is fine, this doesn’t bother us, we like the job they did, we’re going to support them. Or, we don’t like it, we’re not going to vote for them. The longer this drags on, in terms of an integrity commissioner investigation, the more it takes away from us doing our jobs, because it is a distraction.”
One email from Brown to Cassidy regarding a spot on the FCM outlines eight “things to highlight” when making her pitch. They include the ability to speak French, work on the Poverty Panel, and meetings she was a part of during her time as deputy mayor.
Another set of communications between the two discussed a First Nations report that Brown suggested Councillor Tanya Park second. Cassidy immediately replied, asking to be the seconder, using vulgar language to reason why she should be the one to move the motion forward.
AM980 has reached out to both Mayor Brown and Councillor Cassidy who have declined comment.
Messages have also been left with Integrity Commissioner Gregory Stewart, though they have not been answered.
With files from Craig Needles.