By Rosalind Russell – Elliot Lake Mayor Chris Patrie says he has sought the advice of a lawyer in dealing with the latest ruling by a court judge ordering him removed from office.
Patrie did not attend Monday night’s council meeting after Monday’s ruling stating he violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act as a city councillor.
The decision comes following an investigation by the Integrity Commissioner.
In the decision, which is published on the city of Elliot Lake’s website, it says as a councillor, Patrie influenced or participated in municipal decisions in which he had a financial interest.
The report alleges Patrie influenced public policy by actions inside and outside of council chambers, by attempting to dissuade other elected members from placing a $30 million taxpayer-funded recreational hub in the downtown core, and lobbying for it to be located behind commercial real estate he had an interest in.
City officials say Acting Mayor Andrew Wannan, Council and the administration are committed to ensuring that the business of the City will continue to move forward without disruption during this interim period. They add there is no immediate need for the City to fill the vacancy created by the judge’s decision.
The decision also comes with Patrie not being able to be a member of office for two years.
Patrie says he will look at all options including a stay of proceedings as well as filing an appeal.
Daniel Gagnon, CAO at the City of Elliot Lake, said The Municipal Act, 2001 requires that when a Council vacancy arises, the remaining sitting councilors have two options within 60 days of declaring the seat vacant at a regular Council meeting. Council can hold a by-election or appoint a qualified elector to Council. If they chose appointment, it can decide upon the proper course and is not required to appoint from the list of candidates from the past election. Gagnon said more information will be shared as it arises.