CORNWALL, Ontario – Coun. Gerry Samson held a bizarre press conference Monday in front of city hall where he announced his intention to skip any more in-camera meetings prior to next week’s election – only to reverse himself when pressed minutes later.
Samson was railing against a last-minute private session at city hall Monday where sources tell Seaway News councillors will mull a $250,000 settlement for whistleblower Diane Shay.
While Samson wouldn’t talk about the specifics of Monday’s agenda, he launched into a thundering diatribe against too many in-camera sessions – but minutes later was walking in the front door of city hall.
Samson was queried by journalists about his obligation to attend such meetings, which likely led to his change of heart.
“I as a city councillor will not sit at any further closed-door meetings prior to this election,” Samson said to kick-off his rain-soaked press conference. It should be noted that there is just one week to go before the Oct. 27 election and no other meetings are on the books.
It was pointed out to Samson that he has an obligation to attend private sessions.
“By being there it causes a cloud of mistrust. I don’t want to be part of that, because I had nothing to do with it,” he said, moments before attending the meeting anyway.
It was further suggested to the incumbent city councillor that by abstaining from voting on any matters in-camera, the ultimate decision of council could be changed.
Samson: “That’s true. I didn’t consider that. Any others (questions)?”
Then a resident, presumably a man who simply decided to attend Samson’s press conference, suggested: “If you don’t attend, you’ll never know what went on in there either…I think you should go in.”
That was enough for Samson.
“I think I will…I’ve changed my mind,” he said.