City councillor under investigation

Sydenham Councillor Glover says investigation is based on a political vendetta

Bill Glover is currently under investigation by Integrity Commissioner George Rust-D’Eye.
Bill Glover is currently under investigation by Integrity Commissioner George Rust-D’Eye.

Bill Glover, Sydenham District Councillor, is under investigation by an integrity commissioner for his actions during the electoral boundaries Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) appeal last October.

The City Council has kept the investigation tightly under wraps. They voted to hire George Rust-D’Eye, a temporary integrity commissioner, at a closed meeting last Tuesday.

Rust-D’Eye interviewed Glover last Wednesday. According to Council, the findings of the investigation will eventually be made public in March, but the exact date is uncertain.

Glover told the that he believes the investigation is the outcome of a political vendetta, rather than an issue of integrity.

He said the dispute can be traced back to an opinions piece he published on his personal website in 2012.

In the piece, he suggested that a group of seven councillors have become a partisan group friendly to land developers.

Glover had investigated sources of campaign funding, he said, and although nothing illegal has occurred, he concluded that the councillors had formed a partisan group and were recruiting.

“That enormously upset a number of my colleagues. One threatened legal action,” he said. “I think that started a lot of what’s being going on since then.”

This group, he said, was the same group which voted not to include students in the original electoral boundaries. The group allegedly includes Mayor Mark Gerretsen and councillors Brian Reitzel, Bryan Paterson and Jeff Scott.

The AMS, SGPS and the Sydenham District Association filed an appeal in June with the OMB to contest the Council’s intention to restructure city electoral boundaries without taking student voters into account.

The plan, if enacted, would have dissolved Sydenham District into its two surrounding districts, Williamsville and King’s Town.

“If you don’t count students, then you could take one district away from the downtown area, and give it to the suburbs,” Glover said.

According to some, he said, the suburbs reliably vote center-right, while downtown voters are typically more left-wing.

He said he wouldn’t ascribe a motive to any specific person for such a political maneuver, and said this is only how it appears on the surface.

The OMB ruled on the side of the AMS and SGPS in November, creating new boundaries that reflected the student population and kept Sydenham District intact.

During the appeal, Glover’s email correspondence with Robert Williams, an expert on city electoral boundaries, was used as evidence against the Council’s original decision.

The Mayor’s office was unavailable to comment on the investigation, but directed the to Rust-D’Eye, who didn’t respond to interview requests.

Rust-D’Eye, an expert in municipal law, has served as integrity commissioner for Mississauga, and was hired to represent Toronto Mayor Rob Ford after he was stripped of power by the Toronto City Council.

Later in the week, the Kingston City Council voted 7-6 to hire a permanent integrity commissioner on retainer.

Councillor Brian Reitzel, who voted to hire the permanent commissioner, said the OMB appeal wasn’t the catalyst for the decision for the hiring, since the Council has needed to deal with integrity issues for years.

“We didn’t hire him to shake anybody up, but rather if you have questions regarding ethics and policy that have to do with municipal politics, then that would be the go-to person,” Reitzel said.

He said a commissioner could help councillors decide whether they are in a conflict of interest situation, or whether to comment to the press about an issue.

Reitzel said he isn’t privy to the investigation of Glover, so he can’t comment on it. However, he added that it didn’t come from a vendetta.

“That’s Bill Glover’s view. If he has a guilty conscience then he’ll have to deal with it, not me,” Reitzel said.

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