The Town of Hawkesbury’s Integrity Commissioner is investigating a complaint under the municipal Code of Conduct.

Lawyer and former Grenville-sur-la-Rouge Mayor John Saywell is the town’s Integrity Commissioner.

During the February 8 council meeting, a lengthy closed session of nearly two hours took place.  The subject of the closed session was listed on the agenda as a Report of the Integrity Commissioner and the matter discussed concerned information regarding an identifiable individual and labour relations under the Municipal Act.

At the conclusion of the closed session, Councillor Antonios Tsourounakis was chairing the council meeting.  A motion was presented to council to be decided upon by recorded vote to accept the report of the Integrity Commissioner.

All councillors voted in favour of accepting the report, except for Mayor Paula Assaly who did not vote.  Councillor André Chamaillard was absent from the meeting.

Due to a confidentiality issue, Saywell’s report could not be filed and made public on February 8.  It has not yet been made public but could be officially filed and made public in March.

Assaly resumed chairing the council meeting for its duration.

Closed session video recordings

Prior to February 22, no video recordings were made of the closed session portions of Hawkesbury council meetings.

Following a recommendation from the Ombudsman of Ontario, council decided to begin recording closed sessions on video.  Video recordings of the sessions are meant to ensure a clear and accessible record is available, especially if there are any later inquiries regarding the proceedings of council.

According to the Ombudsman of Ontario, at least 25 other municipalities record the closed sessions of their council meetings. There are 444 municipalities in Ontario.