Integrity Commissioner reports tabled for private discussion and later council meeting

Regina’s city council has decided to deal with two Integrity Commissioner reports at a later date.

Council voted to table the reports to Executive Committee for private discussion before bringing them back to city council.

In the first report, the Integrity Commissioner 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.

Mayor Sandra Masters brought forward the motion to table the report and explained why she decided to do so.

“Just to have a conversation in private about our employee and about how to manage the situation, and to bring in probably some HR expertise, just to see if there’s something else we should be doing or don’t need to be doing, or just to take some time to reflect on comments made and answers to questions and then come together and get some sound advice on how to best move forward.”

Councillor Andrew Stevens said he didn’t understand the reason to table and felt this dragged out the “drama” longer than needed.

“I didn’t see that coming,” he said. “I really wanted this to be over with. I’m not enjoying the fact that we’re kicking this down the road a little bit further. I’ve been dealing with this since December 12, when I first got word that the complaints had been lodged. I’d like some conclusion to this, whatever the settlement.”

While frustrated about the report being “kicked down the road,” he did feel good about some of the discussions he heard during the meeting.

“This is actually about recognizing behaviour that’s in violation of the code and preventing it from happening,” he said. “That was probably the most important takeaway.”

Reflecting on the lawsuit, Stevens said while he doesn’t regret it, he wouldn’t do it again.

“Going to court over an issue is not something I want to ever do ever again. The only reason I signed up for this was because of the severity of the issue. I didn’t do this because I didn’t get what I wanted. This isn’t a bike lane that didn’t get constructed; this is a serious issue. I only did this because of the severity of the issue and how bad it has continuously gotten in our community.”

He also stopped short of calling it a mistake but did reflect on other options he could have taken.

“I’d have to review and think where would that place have been where I could have made a decision or a vote that would actually have put the city in the game of ending homelessness, to actualize our plan and homelessness,” he said. “I’m always willing to reflect and think there might have been a mistake. In some ways, I think I would have been a better ally to Councillor LeBlanc and Miss Stratton had I not signed on; I could have been on the other side of the table, kind of rendering interference and talking about these issues with my colleagues.”

Councillor Dan LeBlanc called tabling the reports to a later date ‘ridiculous.’

“It’s been discussed in private before, more than once. I think we’re at a point where; make a decision. If you want to publicly whip Councillor Stevens and I, just do that; just get on with it,” he said. “I think it’s wild that nine people can’t do that after several hours of discussion when the recommendations are pretty plain.

LeBlanc said that instead of spending more time on the aftermath of the lawsuit, they should work on addressing more serious issues.

“While we’ve been doing this, people continue to die in heritage in North Central on the streets,” he noted. “We have bigger fish to fry and drying out this circus.”

Despite the recommendations finding that he violated two sections of the Code of Ethics Bylaw, LeBlanc believes the lawsuit has sparked a more intense conversation about houselessness.

“I think we have never, in Regina, talked more about houselessness and addiction and poverty than we have in the last 11 months. There’s a financial cost to that, and there is a human cost to that, including to Miss Anderson and Councillor Stevens. I think that’s well worth it because we need to take a serious adult approach to this.”

The second report, which recommends that City Council censure or reprimand Councillor Andrew Stevens for disclosing the Confidential Report attached and provide a written apology to Councillor Terina Nelson, was also tabled.

The reports are expected to be discussed at the May 31 city council meeting.

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