Two separate reports from the City of Regina’s Integrity Commissioner are set to be brought forward at Wednesday’s city council meeting.
In the first report, the Integrity Commissioner Angela Kirk recommends that City Council request that Councillors Andrew Stevens and Dan LeBlanc provide a written apology to City Manager Niki Anderson for the negative impact their December 2022 Lawsuit had on her professionally and personally, as well as reprimand Councillors Stevens and LeBlanc for their actions.
Kirk did note a motion passed back in a December council meeting where council expressed disappointment over the negative impact on the city council’s operational integrity and oversight that the lawsuit created would be deemed a sufficient reprimand.
In the report, Kirk states that they received two complaints alleging that Councilors LeBlanc and Stevens contravened the City of Regina Code of Ethics Bylaw.
Both complaints were about the Councillor’s pursuit of a court application against the City Manager Niki Anderson, seeking to compel her to include a $24.9 million line item into the proposed 2023 City of Regina budget.
Kirk found that the Councillors broke two sections of the Code of Ethics bylaw.
“I find that the Respondents (Councillor’s LeBlanc and Stevens): i) failed to adequately consider Council’s role; ii) failed to pursue other adequate and effective remedies; and iii) pursued unnecessary legal proceedings; and as a result, the Respondents failed to serve their constituents in a conscientious and diligent manner and are therefore in contravention of section 13(1) of the Code.”
“I understand the Respondents were passionately supporting an issue important to the community in undertaking the lawsuit, but a member’s passionate support of an issue is not unfettered. Members must consider the impact their actions will have on the quality of public administration, governance, reputation and integrity of the City,” Kirk said. “I find that the Respondents did not adequately consider these basic principles described in the Code and therefore are in contravention of section 13(2) of the Code by taking actions that failed to strive to build and inspire the public’s trust and confidence in local government.”
Kirk added that she believes the Councillors did not target the City Manager personally but should be considered the impact the lawsuit might have.
“The lawsuit still had a considerable negative impact on her professionally and personally. I know this not only because I heard this directly from Ms. Anderson but also because the lawsuit would have had a negative impact on any person in Ms. Anderson’s position.”
The Alternate Integrity Commissioner Randy Langaard provided the second report and recommended that City Council censure or reprimand Councillor Andrew Stevens for disclosing the Confidential Report attached and provide a written apology to Councillor Terina Nelson.
The complaint was made under The Code of Ethics Bylaw by Councillor Terina Nelson against Councillor Andrew Stevens after he contravened the confidential provisions of the City of Regina’s Code of Ethics Bylaw.
The Integrity Commissioner Angela Kirk sent a confidential report to Councillor Stevens and Nelson.
The email alluded to a different report to be considered by the Executive Committee at its next week. The subject matter to be dealt with was related to other allegations against Councillor Nelson by Councillor Stevens that Kirk determined were sustainable.
Within minutes of receiving the email, Councillor Stevens used the “Reply to All” function to send his own email in response. In doing so, he was responding to all members of the City Council, as well as the Acting City Clerk, Acting City manager, and the City Solicitor. In his email, Stevens questioned why the report was being considered by the Executive Committee and attacked the Confidential Report.
Stevens admitted to sending the email and stated in the alternate Integrity Commissioners report that it was only intended for the City Solicitor.
Stevens goes on to say that it was “in error” that he sent it to the other parties and that he is regreeting it immemorially. He also refers to it as a “lapse in judgement,” but once caused by the frustration he experienced with the complaint process.
Langaard found that Stevens violated the Code of Ethics Bylaw when they sent the email.
Langaard said they accept Stevens’s “assertion that his disclosure may not have been intentional, though it was careless.”
The report comes before Council after one of the parties (Councillor Nelson) refused to have an alternate resolution process to resolve any difference between the two parties.
In the report, Nelson said that she does not feel such a process is necessary as she feels that parties have demonstrated an ability to work together on City business and feels the current issue is the breach of confidentially itself.
Both reports will be presented to City Council on Wednesday.