Windsor City Council unanimously directed that Dr. Bruce Elman be appointed as the Integrity Commissioner for the City of Windsor for the term January 18, 2016 – December 31, 2016, with the possibility of a further one year renewal upon mutual agreement.
The Office of Integrity Commissioner was introduced to Windsor City Council in 2008 when Earl Basse was first appointed to this office. Mr. Basse served as Integrity Commissioner from September 2, 2008 – June 30, 2010. Following Mr. Basse’s term, Council appointed Mr. Bruce Elman, former Dean of the University of Windsor Law School, as Integrity Commissioner and Mr. Elman has held that post since August 1, 2011.
Until recently, no other municipality in the County of Essex retained the services of an Integrity Commissioner. However, in the fall of 2015 several County municipalities – Lasalle, Amherstburg, Tecumseh, Kingsville, Leamington and Essex, have individually appointed Mr. Robert Swayze as Integrity Commissioner for each municipality.
As detailed on the City’s website, Section 223.3 of the revised Municipal Act, supra, enables a municipality to appoint an “Integrity Commissioner” to address the application of the Code of Conduct for elected officials and/or members of local boards. In addition, the legislation provides that the Integrity Commissioner can be delegated any or all of the policy matters surrounding the enforcement of Codes of Conduct for elected officials and/or members of local boards.
Further, pursuant to section 223.4, an Integrity Commissioner has the power to deal with requests to investigate suspected contraventions of the Code of Conduct and has the right of free access to all records of a municipality, a Councillor or a local board that the Commissioner believes is necessary to investigate an inquiry. Section 223.4 of the Act also specifies that the Integrity Commissioner may recommend the following penalties should there be determination a contravention has occurred:
- A reprimand; or
- Suspension of the remuneration of the local board or Council member for a period of up to 90 days.
The full mandate of the Integrity Commissioner has four components: 1. Advisory; 2. Complaint Investigation; 3. Complaint Adjudication; 4. Education.
Commissioner Elman was front and centre in the 2011-2012 investigation and adjudication of former councilor Al Maghnieh’s misuse of the library board’s credit cards. In September 2012 Elman reported his findings in open council that Maghnieh “knowingly and recklessly” disregarded the board’s rules and guidelines and recommended a 45 day suspension and a reimbursement of $3300 to council.
Video and story by Joe McParland