Elliot Lake to wait until appeal is heard before deciding fate of newly elected mayor
The City of Elliot Lake has agreed to wait until an appeal is heard before moving to replace Mayor Chris Patrie.
The move comes after last month’s ruling by an Ontario Superior Court judge that found Patrie guilty of conflict of interest and banning him from office for two years.
Under Ontario law, city councils have to decide how a vacancy will be filled within 60 days.
In 2019, Patrie was councillor in Elliot Lake when he was accused by the city's integrity commissioner of trying to influence the local government's decisions about where to build a new $30 million taxpayer-funded recreational facility.
While lobbying for the new multisport complex to be located behind the strip mall Patrie and his wife own instead of the recommended former Algo Mall site, Patrie is accused of impacting the council vote on the facility after threatening another councillor.
A complaint about the councillor was filed in March 2019 by former Mayor Dan Marchisella.
In a statement Monday, the city said it has agreed to wait until the appeal is heard. Patrie has agreed not to seek a stay of the decision while his appeal goes through the court system.
"Mr. Patrie has indicated that he will appeal the decision but will not seek a stay of the ruling, provided the city does not take any steps to fill the vacancy in the office of the mayor," Elliot Lake said in a statement.
A court hearing is scheduled Feb. 13 to add the City of Elliot Lake to the proceedings and seek formal approval for the city to wait to replace Patrie.
A court order is needed to allow the 60-day deadline to be extended.
A special council meeting is being held Tuesday to hear in more detail from the city’s solicitor, Aird and Berlis LLP.
"Legal counsel for Mr. Patrie, the integrity commissioner and the city will all be appearing before a judge on a case management conference scheduled for the morning of Feb. 13," the city said.
The City of Elliot Lake's integrity commissioner in 2019 was incorrectly identified as Robert Swayze. He was not retained until Sept. 14, 2020. Expertise for Municipalities (E4m) was appointed the city's integrity commissioner from Feb. 11, 2019.
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