The City Integrity Commissioner recently found that in providing erroneous information to the Spectator Editorial Board On December 7, Mayor Bob Bratina breached a section of the Council Code of Conduct. In that interview the mayor left the impression that the Human Resources Department of the City had initiated the process that resulted in the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Peggy Chapman receiving a $30,000 raise. Later the mayor acknowledged that it was his office that initiated the process by asking the Human Resources department to provide comparative salary figures used in making the decision. Accordingly Earl Basse found the mayor had contravened a section of the code dealing with injuring the reputation of a staff member. Basse added, however that he found the breach not to be a “malicious or deliberate act.” Basse found no evidence to support 3 other allegations.
By way of background, the Basse report noted that when Chapman was hired there was a discussion with HR to determine an appropriate salary. HR recommended that Chapman receive salary at a grade nine level but also noted that a previous holders of the position had been paid grade 10. Ultimately, since it was not known exactly what her duties would entail Chapman agreed to start out at Grade 8 level with the understanding that there would be a salary review in 2011. When Chapman’s annual review came up last fall, they decided on pay grade 10 (resulting in the $30,000 raise) because it had been paid in the past and because Chapman was performing the combined duties of Chief of Staff, senior advisor and communications chief.
Although Bratina has acknowledged he was wrong to suggest HR initiated the raise; the episode raises some questions. In March, as the first wave of controversy over the raise was dying down somewhat, Spectator Columnist Andrew Dreschel broke the surprising news that Chapman was going to appear on the upcoming 2011 sunshine list of employees who earned more than $100,000. It’s impossible to find any explanation for that leak other than that somebody in Human Resources had spilled the beans. The only other conclusion is that the payroll records had somehow been hacked. Was the information leaked directly to the reporter, or was it leaked to members of council who then told Dreschel? Either way it represents a serious breakdown in confidentiality and professionalism in the same department that was reportedly “devastated” over Bratina’s remarks. It’s interesting that Article 13.2 of the Code of conduct which the Mayor was found to have violated also contains the following language:..”City employees serve council as a WHOLE”…(and later)…” members of council shall be respectful of the role of City employees to advise based on political neutrality and objectivity and without undue influence from any INDIVIDUAL MEMBER or FACTION of the Council”
In our view it would be easier to count the councillors that wouldn’t be vulnerable to complaints under this clause of the Code of Conduct.