Reprimand Recommended for Mayor of Napanee in Integrity Commissioner 2nd Report – Kingston
The mayor of Napanee is again the subject of a report from the Integrity Commissioner, this time over allegations of threats and harassment.
A report written by Laura Dean recommends that Mayor Marg Isbester be reprimanded by council over one of two complaints against her in June of this year.
This follows another report presented to the council in mid-September, which revealed that Isbester failed to mention a potential conflict of interest involving property belonging to his son. No reprimand was suggested in this case.
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Yet Dean found out that this time around, at least in one instance, it was clear that the mayor had broken the city’s code of conduct.
According to the report, Isbester made a comment about the burning of the house of a person with whom she had a contentious relationship. She admitted to saying the statements, including repeating them twice in a fire station, the report noted.
âThe mayor’s response expresses concern about the ‘damage’ caused by the public comments made by (the complainant) regarding personnel issues in the fire department. The mayor’s response indicates that his comments on the (complainant’s) house fire were made “in jest and in support of our firefighters,” “the report said.
Isbester told Global News she is withholding comments until the report has been presented to council, but Dean notes that the mayor has apologized for the comment made to the complainant.
âAnyway, jokingly or seriously, as a board member I shouldn’t have said anything about the burning of houses to (the complainant). For that, I apologize.
Dean thought it important to note that the mayor questioned the motives of this particular complainant, saying she might have political ambitions and that the purpose of the complaints was to “discredit her and get her and her engaged. city, substantial expenditure â.
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Prior to the Integrity Commissioner’s previous report, the town of Napanee and the former mayor were accused of irregularities in certain land deals, both of which were cleared as part of a KPMG investigation.
Despite Isbester’s questions about the complainant’s motives and his apologies for the statement, Dean concluded that a reprimand was warranted for repeating the statement at the fire station.
âWe understand that (the complainant) has been a vocal critic of the mayor and the city and that the mayor thinks much of this criticism is unwarranted. In all cases, the mayor must keep in mind that she occupies a position of influence and that she is, at all times, a representative of the municipality, âsaid Dean.
Yet the commissioner did not ask for a suspension of pay, another option allowed when such violations are noted.
Dean did not recommend any sanction on another grievance, although he found the complainant’s version of events to be credible.
According to the report, on December 24 of last year, a resident saw scrap wood being dumped on a property across from his own. This property belongs to Isbester’s son, Andrew Isbester. Land owned by Andrew was the main point of contention during the Integrity Commissioner’s latest process presented just under two weeks ago.
On Christmas Eve, the report said the resident called the settlement, but couldn’t get in touch with officials due to the holidays, so he went for the OPP and then the mayor.
The mayor came to the property to discuss the matter and learned that his son owned the property where the lumber was dumped.
According to his version of events, presented by Dean, Isbester contacted the complainant after checking with his son that he had cleared the spill. She said “he often allowed scrap wood to be left there, but if it got in the way of traffic he would either have one of his employees remove the materials or he would remove them himself.”
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The complainant was concerned about how wood waste could interfere with snow removal. Isbester says the resident has expressed concern that the property is becoming “a mess”.
During the call between the mayor and the inhabitant, both agree to say that things are ignited. The plaintiff claims the mayor got very angry said the following: “If you let it be known that Andrew is involved in this matter, I will sue you with all I have.” “
Isbester denies making threats, but says she doesn’t remember the exact words she said on the call. Dean said Isbester admitted her words had gotten “sharp” and perhaps sounded “not much like Christmas”, but that she said she “certainly didn’t do anything. kind of threat “.
Although she found the complainant’s version of events to be credible, Dean said the context of the incident had moved her away from recommending sanctions in this case.
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âRegarding (the complaint), although we are of the opinion that the mayor probably made uncivil and possibly hostile comments constituting a threat to (the complainant) on December 24, 2020, in the circumstances, such driving, while not excusable, must be seen in the context of a rainy, COVID-19 appeal on Christmas Eve in which her son’s conduct was at issue. “
Dean will present his report to the council on Tuesday, where councilors will then have an opportunity to vote on the recommendation to reprimand Isbester.
Global News has not been able to confirm the identity of the two complainants. Dean has yet to respond to a request for comment.
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