Earlier this month, Ward 3 Councillor Maggie Laidlaw said that this term in council would be her last, and now it seems that the controversial member of Guelph's city government will not be going quietly into that proverbial good night.
Reports have to come to light that Laidlaw is the subject of a pair complaints filed about a city councillor with the city's integrity commissioner. Robert Swayze will bring the full issue and facts before council this coming Monday, but Laidlaw discussed the matter in an article published in the Guelph Mercury yesterday.
According to Laidlaw, the complaints come from a recent appearance she made before the Committee of Adjustment. She says that she was advocating on behalf of her constituents on a matter concerning "huge road allowances" and the fact that may of the people on Yorkshire St. have to apply for minor variances to even park in their own driveways. Laidlaw says she wanted to appear before the committee because she wanted to advocate for a reassessment on the issue of variances, and that's where things seemed to have gone awry. Two reports were filed by staff members on June 27 accused an unnamed member of council of breaking the Code of Conduct by writing emails and making statements "which amounted to abuse, bullying, intimidation and falsely injured (the staff members') professional and ethical reputation."
Swayze's initial report says that while Laidlaw was well within her right to appear before committee, he adds, "in my opinion, no member of Council should contact a (committee of adjustment) member to discuss an application before it and should never appear as a delegation before the Committee."
Laidlaw, in her defense says, "I have a bit of a temper and I spoke vehemently, let's say, because I believe in this issue." She doesn't believe that she was being a bully or otherwise abusive, "but obviously someone thought so."
If a violation is found to have occurred, Laidlaw could face a variety of consequences including a motion of reprimand, suspension of the remuneration paid to the councillor for a period of up to 90 days, the removal of the member from committee or local board appointments, a request for an apology, or the withholding of confidential materials/matters for a period of time. The investigation is ongoing, but Swayze will give an initial report to council at Monday's meeting.