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Sault city councillor reprimanded for code of conduct breach


A Sault Ste. Marie city councillor is hoping to move forward after he was found to have breached council’s code of conduct.

The city’s integrity commissioner advised Coun. Stephan Kinach to apologize for remarks made at a previous council meeting – to which he refused.

Instead, Kinach opted to be reprimanded by his colleagues.

The controversy began at the March 18 council meeting, when Kinach took issue with a report from city administration pertaining to the use of consultants.

“This report discards us and (the) constituents we represent,” Kinach said at the time.

“This completely ignores the whole democratic process because this report is evidence that staff is working against council and Saultites.”

The city’s integrity commissioner advised Coun. Stephan Kinach to apologize for remarks made at a previous council meeting – to which he refused. (Mike McDonald/CTV News)

After the remarks, Kinach said he was called into a meeting with Mayor Matthew Shoemaker and CAO Tom Vair, when he was asked to apologize publicly for his comments.

“I didn’t feel my comments were harsh enough or crossed the line to a point where I needed to make an open session apology,” Kinach told CTV News.

He sought the advice of the integrity commissioner, who found that Kinach had indeed breached council’s code of conduct and echoed calls for an apology.

No one 'coming out a winner'

Kinach instead joined six of his council colleagues in voting in favour of a reprimand.

“I ended up voting in favour of the reprimand just as an act of contrition to show that I understand this got way out of hand, and at this point … I don’t think anyone’s coming out a winner,” he said.

“We are privileged and honoured to be elected officials and we have to uphold ourselves to a certain degree of professionalism,” said Coun. Lisa Vezeau-Allen, who was among those who voted in favour of a reprimand.

“I have not seen that from Coun. Kinach.”

Coun. March Bruni voted against this course of action, as he said it’s not council’s duty to discipline its own.

“My thought was send it back to the integrity commissioner and she can file what the discipline action would be,” said Bruni.

Councillors Sonny Spina and Matthew Scott were also in favour of sending the matter back to the integrity commissioner.

As for Kinach, he said he just wants to put this issue behind him, while pledging to be more “courteous” and “polished” in the future.

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