City hiring integrity commissioner to investigate MacDonald

In this April 2018, file photo, Cornwall Coun. Mark MacDonald makes an argument in his defence during a city council meeting. The city is hiring an integrity commissioner -- not the Ontario Ombudsman -- to look into MacDonald's email and Twitter conduct. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

Update 8:25 p.m.: The bylaw was pulled from the council agenda and will come back during the next council meeting on June 11. Coun. Mark MacDonald was not at the meeting. Couns. Justin Towndale (on unpaid leave) and Maurice Dupelle were also absent.

CORNWALL – The city is expected to hire an integrity commissioner tonight (Monday) to investigate Coun. Mark MacDonald over his email and Twitter behaviour.

City council will pass a bylaw to appoint Jeffrey Abrams and Janice Atwood-Petkovski of Principles Integrity. Abrams and Atwood-Petkovski are both retired civil servants who own the firm.

It’s a new direction for the council, led by Coun. Claude McIntosh, which had originally asked the Ontario Ombudsman to look into a series of emails and comments by MacDonald about other councillors.

It’s believed the maverick councillor broke the city’s code of conduct.

MacDonald repeatedly called some of his council cohorts “hypocrites” and “two-faced” for their votes on the municipal budget.

For his part, MacDonald has been nonchalant about the whole thing. “If you want to file a complaint with the Supreme Court of Canada it ain’t going to make any difference to me, I’m not backing down,” he said during an April council meeting.

The bylaw sets out parameters for Principles Integrity and for city administration but makes no mention of the cost of the investigation or how long it will take.

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