SCUGOG: Ward 3 Councillor Don Kett and Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew were instructed by Mayor Tom Rowett to apologize to each other, at a meeting on Monday, June 26th.
At the meeting, Councillor Drew raised a question of privilege regarding comments Councillor Kett made at the June 19th meeting. Councillor Drew said Councillor Kett’s comments at that meeting “called [her] integrity into question” and added she believed Councillor Kett’s actions breached section 11 of council’s code of conduct.
At the June 19th meeting, during the announcements from council portion, Councillor Kett asked for an apology from Councillor Drew for comments she made at the May 29th council meeting that he found “disgraceful.”
“This is about disrespectful public interactions that were extremely serious, bordering on accusations of criminal activity and, as the integrity commissioner has stated, this is simply not acceptable,” Councillor Drew said during discussions about the integrity commissioner’s report at the May 29th meeting.
However, Councillor Kett was told by Mayor Rowett the announcements portion is not the right place to be asking for an apology.
As she explained her reasoning for the question of privilege, Councillor Drew defended her comments at the May 29th meeting.
“I read from a prepared statement. This statement I had carefully worded and worked on for a number of days. I read directly from the script and it included direct quotes from the integrity commissioner’s report,” Councillor Drew said.
She added the script was looked over by legal counsel and said Councillor Kett’s actions are a “black mark” on Scugog council and the way the Township’s “business is conducted.”
Before Mayor Rowett made a decision, both Councillors were given an opportunity to explain their feelings.
Councillor Kett said Councillor Drew only read portions of the integrity commissioner’s report.
“What my problem was is that Councillor Drew makes these accusations as quotes, but does not read the full quote so it can be very misleading.”
Councillor Drew responded to Councillor Kett’s concern.
“I could have quoted the whole integrity commissioner’s report, it was all the same flavour, but I didn’t see any benefit in doing that.”
Mayor Rowett then decided both councillors needed to apologize to each other for what has been said.
“Both of you need to understand that you may not feel you’re offending the other councillor, but you have to take ownership of what you’re saying.”
Mayor Rowett also threatened that if they didn’t apologize, they would not be allowed to attend council meetings until they do.
“I want this to end and I want this to end now, before we go into a summer session,” Mayor Rowett said.
The Mayor also said it has been hard for him to deal with “a couple members who are going back and forth on particular items.”
Councillor Drew and Councillor Kett then apologized to each other.
This was the third time Councillor Drew has called a question of privilege on Councillor Kett’s actions. At a meeting in May 2015, both Councillor Kett and Councillor Back were asked to apologize for comments made during a motion to relieve her of the title of deputy mayor. In January 2016, Councillor Drew again asked for an apology from Councillor Kett, for what she saw as “totally unfounded” allegations. However, that time Mayor Rowett ruled that an apology was not necessary.