Tuesday , 30 May 2023
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Ward Seven Councillor sanctioned over Police Services conflict

The Integrity Commissioner has docked Ward Seven Councillor Ester Pauls 15 days pay for voting on the Police Services budget while a family member was a police officer. The decision was released after a complaint to the IC by Councillor Cameron Kroetsch. In the written decision, the Integrity Commissioner says Pauls sought the ICs advice on the issue and was apparently told she was in conflict. The decision says that Paul’s then sought other opinions on the matter and went ahead with voting on the budget. The commissioner wrote that Pauls showed genuine contrition for the incident but: “we balance the Councillors’ contrition against her decision to ignore our previous advice…it cannot be the case that ‘opinion-shopping’ is encouraged.”

The opinion and sanction of Councillor Pauls stands in sharp contrast to past police services board members’ voting practices. The late Councillor Bernie Morelli, who had a family member on the service, was a long-standing Police Services Board member and chaired the body  for several years, while voting for the Police budget both on the Police board and as a councillor.

The Integrity Commissioner says a person with a family member on the Police service can still serve on the Police Services Board, but notes, “such an appointment burdens the member with the obligation of careful diligence to recognize their deemed interest which will inevitably arise from time to time.”

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