Kearns Puts a More Positive Spin on the Messy Integrity Meeting at Council on Tuesday

By Pepper Parr

April 21st, 2022



Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns held her sixth – it may been her seventh Ward meeting. This one was another hybrid.  She made comments about the Integrity Commission process that she took part in yesterday that are worth publishing.

Here is what she had to say.

“We also had a report in Council yesterday that we dealt with in regards to the Integrity Commissioner, and one of the Councillors, Councillor Stolte who had made a misstep and was cited for an infraction against the Code of Good Governance. There were two counts that they had identified had been breaches and she was penalized accordingly in the recommendation report from our third-party Integrity Commissioner.

Councillor Kearns has always supported positions taken by Councillor Stolte.

“There has been some media coverage. There is a lot of weight to what is ethical is not always legal, and what is legal is not always ethical. I want to acknowledge that the Councillor was working very hard in the pursuit of opening up greater transparency and communication to the community.

“Many of you are no stranger in knowing that there are matters that I would like to be brought a little bit more into the open. One thing that you will start seeing is a definite improvement in listing the locations on why we are going into closed – especially if it’s for litigation matters. There are some conversation out there around having an increased number of times of this Council going into closed versus the last Council so I do want to be really upfront with that.

“There is significant litigation, especially for matters in and around the downtown. Many of you will know that because we have posted all of the individual locations or files that have been submitted Ontario Land Tribunal as appeals against the new Official Plan in the downtown alone. I believe there are 26 of those, in addition to any other site specific concerns that we are working through the tribunal with, so that to me, does make up the bulk of those close sessions; whether they are proposals for settlement or updates on litigation strategy those are considered in closed under Section 239 of the Municipal Act.

“The other piece that is significantly discussed in closed session is matters surrounding Robert Bateman. It’s a very large acquisition where some proprietary pieces of information are discussed. My council colleagues know there are parts that I will be looking for their support and making more public. But we are not always alone in our decision making, our decisions do affect other parties.  I do continue to applaud Councillor Stolte’s pursuit of working to bring about more change.

“But at the same time, I always respect the process and process was duly carried out by our third party Integrity Commissioner and I do respect the findings of that report. Although it was a very uncomfortable situation to move through as a council. I am hopeful that we will come out on the other side as more knowledgeable and continue to shine for our city constituents in the very best light that we possibly can.”

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5 comments to Kearns Puts a More Positive Spin on the Messy Integrity Meeting at Council on Tuesday

  • Mitch

    To the Mayor and Councillors. Shameful. You all live in glass houses.

  • Jeremy Skinner

    Thank you Councillor Lisa Kearns for sharing your perspective on this politically sensitive matter.

  • Penny Hersh

    As mentioned in a previous comment that I made yesterday I felt that Councillor Kearns did her due diligence in supporting the recommendations before council with regard to the Integrity Commissions Report. Just as important was the fact that she did not demean a fellow councillor and did try on several occasions to acknowledge that there were some issues with regard to closed sessions that she would like to make public, only to be told to comment on the report itself.

    One would think that perhaps a first step could have been handled in a meeting that would include the 2 councillors, that felt the need to lodge a complaint, along with Councillor Stolte, the mayor, the city manager, and any other relevant staff members to discuss their concerns, prior to there being 4 cited incidents ( 2 that were dropped).

    Many residents who watched how the “integration ” took place felt the need to stop watching because of the shameful way this meeting was conducted.

    Councillor Stolte as well as Councillor Kearns were informed on a few occasions they were to address the recommendations of the report only. Other councillors were given more leeway. One councillor went so far as to say that in a previous position if there was a breach of confidentiality one could be imprisoned for 14 years.

    I applaud Councillor Kearns optimistic approach ” So I am hopeful that we will come out on the other side more knowledgeable and that will continue to shine for you as our city constituents in the very best light that we possibly can.”

    My question is how can this change take place when it was quite obvious that the discussion at this council meeting was more punitive than ensuring that procedures would change to provide good governance?

  • perryb

    while I certainly respect Councillor Kearns, I find this this commentary to be confusing. After reading it several times, I still don’t know what she is trying to say. Is there another message encoded here?