High cost for legal integrity

High cost for legal integrity

Council reviewed and received a report during a recent session on all the financial costs related to the investigation by former Integrity Commissioner John Saywell into complaints against Mayor Paula Assaly of interference in administrative operations, harassment of some senior staff members. 

The final bill for the Town of Hawkesbury comes to $424,959.38. More than half of that, almost $260,000, covers various legal expenses for the municipality, including the cost of the Saywell investigation, and legal fees related to dismissal of several senior staff, which was part of the investigation. 

Most of the remaining cost, amounting to more than $158,000, covers contract settlements for senior staff who were dismissed and personal leaves for medical reasons related to the issues that were part of the Saywell investigation. The last expense for the municipality is $7500 for professional management coaching for Mayor Assaly to fulfill one of the approved sanction conditions in the Saywell report. 

An administration report to council recommends that future municipal budgets should include allocation of funds to cover any legal or professional costs for the town as a result of any other possible future integrity commission inquiries. 

Council has also received a report during its May 10 session from the current integrity commissioner Jean-Jacques Lacombe dealing with his investigation of allegations against Councillor Yves Paquette of Code of Conduct violations. The legal costs for the municipality of that investigation are not yet determined. 

Lacombe’s report recommended sanctions against Councillor Paquette that included a reprimand for his actions and also public apology from him during a public council session for his behaviour. Council reviewed the report but there was no support among council members to accept the recommendation for sanctions against Payette. 

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