Tay Valley Workplace Harassment discussions continue

April 19, 2018 by

Tay Valley LogoTay Valley Township brought in their lawyer Tony Fleming of Cunningham Swan to attend the Committee of the Whole Meeting on April 17th to discuss the ongoing harassment debate involving one of their Councillors.

Fleming was on hand to give council members his legal opinion on Councillor Judy Farrell’s refusal to leave certain in-camera sessions as per her own legal council’s opinion.

On April 3, Councillor Farrell distributed a letter from her lawyer Soloway Wright to Tay Valley Council that essentially said that she could not be ejected from a council meeting except in the case of ‘improper conduct” which he goes on to define as  behaviour that’s  “objectively threatening” to the physical security of council members or staff, or so disruptive as to make it impossible to safely conduct a meeting.

It went on to say that forcing her to leave infringed on her constitutional right under the Canadian Charter.

However, the township’s council argued that ‘improper conduct’  has not been defined by any courts, and in his opinion Reeve Kerr behaved appropriately in calling the police.  He argued that the councilor was only being asked to leave a portion of a closed session that directly dealt with her alleged harassing behaviour, and was only so that the other council members could speak freely, without interference or influence, could maintain the confidentiality of the complainants in the harassment case and, so there couldn’t be any concerns over potential retribution.

Again Farrell was asked to leave and when she refused, a decision was taken to have the subject meeting conducted through direct communication between the CAO and individual Councillors excluding Farrell.