Cornwall mayor avoids pay penalty for re-election campaign email

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A majority of Cornwall City Council has decided not to dock the mayor two weeks’ pay for sending a re-election campaign email from his city email account.

City council made the decision Monday night after receiving a report from municipal integrity commissioner Tony Fleming.

The report found Glen Grant had used a city computer, his city email account and the mayor’s official signature and city logos to send the email on his re-election bid. He also enlisted a staff member to convert the release into a PDF because he didn’t know how to do it.

Tony Fleming said Grant was “very candid” during his investigation and did not dispute the allegations, including the fact he received “technical assistance” from a city staff member.

All of those actions were violations of the city’s code of conduct as well as the Municipal Elections Act.

Fleming told council there was “nothing to be gained by doubling down” and focused his investigation on the breach of the municipal code of conduct. A Municipal Elections Act violation would have had to go through the court system.

Fleming had recommended the mayor issue a public apology for his actions, which he already did on Friday, and also be docked two weeks’ pay. He argued the monetary penalty would protect the integrity of the code.

But a majority of councillors felt the pay cut was severe, the actions had not been malicious and that the mayor was a hard worker.

During the meeting, Coun. Claude McIntosh revealed he was the third party who helped the mayor write the re-election news release. But McIntosh said he did it on his own time and sent it from his personal computer to the mayor.

Couns. Eric Bergeron and Justin Towndale were the only ones to vote against not sanctioning the mayor.

Bergeron argued that it wasn’t an “inadvertently” sent email and the mayor should “know more than anyone” about proper procedure. Bergeron also noted that he was going to take action through the integrity commissioner for a breach of privacy as the complainant in this investigation was publicly revealed.

Most on council also agreed to just publish the report in the agenda as opposed to making a public posting on the city website.

You can read the integrity commissioner’s report here. (opens a PDF)