CORNWALL, Ontario - An Ottawa labour lawyer has issued a powerfully worded e-mail tearing a strip off Mayor Bob Kilger after he released a statement Tuesday concerning conflict of interest accusations.
Fay Brunning says in her e-mail that Kilger's conduct is "illegal" and "makes a mockery of our democratic and legal systems."
Kilger said Tuesday he has sought legal advice from his lawyers, who back up the assertion that he is not in a conflict of interest concerning a pair of city council meetings held last month.
But Brunning, who represents a pair of so far unnamed city managers, is having none of it.
"No one is above the law and city council should enforce the law against the mayor," she said in her e-mail to local media Wednesday. "Until there is a declaration of the mayor's conflict of interest, recorded in public minutes of council, the electors' rights continue to be violated."
Kilger said in a statement he did not attend a private council meeting last month and a portion of another because he was in the process of seeking legal advice.
Once again Brunning argues to the contrary, suggesting the mayor didn’t attend the meeting on Feb. 19 because she and her clients were against Kilger chairing the in-camera meeting.
"I did not attend the Feb. 19 meeting and I recused myself from a portion of the Feb. 11 meeting while these matters were discussed because I wanted to obtain independent legal advice as to whether I was in a conflict of interest," Kilger said Tuesday. "If I was in a conflict of interest situation with respect to the matters discussed at these meetings, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act states that, because I was absent from the one meeting, I must declare that conflict at the next regular meeting of council."
Brunning further argues the mayor didn't declare a conflict at the next public council meeting because it would leave the door open to legal challenges from the public.
"This declaration of interest…is very important because as of that day, Cornwall electros have six weeks to bring an application to the court to remove the mayor from office for violation of the (Municipal Conflict of Interest Act)," she said.
It's not the first time the mayor has found himself answering questions concerning conflict of interest accusations.
Back in 2009 when his son Chad was hired by the city as firefighter there were suggestions by a city councillor that the mayor's son was provided with help during the selection process – specifically when he sought a Freedom of Information request to gain information on why he had been left off a list of candidates to be interviewed.
At the time both the mayor and then CAO Paul Fitzpatrick denied any suggestion they interfered in the process on behalf of Kilger's son, or had anything to do with the hiring. Since then there has been no proof presented regarding same.
Brunning is the same lawyer who represented Diane Shay, a nurse at the Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge who blew the whistle on cases of resident abuse at the facility.
Not long after the city became the first municipality in the province convicted of retaliating against a whistleblower.