Integrity of city council is at risk - report from the Integrity Commissioner is being challenged

By Pepper Parr

April 18th, 2023



Today may prove to be a momentous day in the history of the city.

During a city council meeting a report prepared by the city’s Integrity Commissioner will be put before Council

The report had to do with a complaint made by a citizen over the way her application the Committee of Adjustment (CoA) for a minor variance to a property on Caroline Street was handled.

Members of the Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee which was sunset by the city in December 2012. Nicholas Leblovic, Chair of the Committee is on the left.

A member of the CoA took exception to the application and chose to impugn the reputation of the professional planner who was representing the applicant and to introduce hearsay evidence and put forward a piece of evidence that was not part of the material before the CoA

The member of the CoA, Nicolas Leblovic and his wife were campaign donors to Councillors Nisan ($250), Kearns ($250) Galbraith ($250) and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward ($1200)

Some of the donations were from Nicholas; others were from Nickolas and Diane his wife.

The recommendation in the report is that Leblovic be required to take part in a training session to better understand the ethics of being a CoA member.

Leblovic was strenuous in his objections to the application and continued with his remarks despite being admonished by both the Chair and another member.

The penalty recommended by the Integrity Commissioner was to require CoA members to be trained  by the Integrity Commissioner on the ethical framework applicable to local board members.

Leblovic’s hubris might get in the way of that training session ever taking place

Leblovic is a retired lawyer with more than 40 years experience. One would expect that he would be fully aware of what lawyers can and cannot do.

During the Council meeting today Leblovic will be introducing a 13 page document setting out why he did what he did and the justification for his actions.

Delegations are entitled to 5 minutes; Leblovic has asked for 15 minutes and the sense is that the Mayor is going to support his position.

The four members of Council that received campaign donations from the Leblovic’s should be recusing themselves from the discussion.

Leblovic did take a leave of absence from the CoA during the 2022 election.

His term as a CoA member had ended but he was returned when a new CoA was membership was appointed.

Councillors Bentivegna and Galbraith were part of the committee that approved the appointment decision.

The objective of a council member is not to reward those who donated funds to an election campaign.

The integrity of the current city council is at risk.

Related news story

Integrity Commissioner not tough enough on CoA member

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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