Complaints Filed Against Adam Vaughan, Mike Layton With Integrity Commissioner

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Today, Toronto Taxpayers Coalition has made good on a threat to file formal complaints to the Office of the Integrity Commissioner against Councillors Adam Vaughan and Mike Layton. The pair are alleged to have violated the Code of Conduct for Members of Council. The formal complaints come on the heels of both councillors refusing to apologize for what appears to be a series of clear breaches.

“When you accuse the City Manager of authoring a report that is ‘fantasy’, ‘fictitious’, with ‘nothing real’ in it, we believe you are injuring the professional or ethical reputation of staff,” stated Toronto Taxpayers Coalition president Matthew McGuire. “Councillors Vaughan and Layton have undermined the City Manager by accusing him of fabricating the report.”

Both Councillors have dismissed the allegations, with Councillor Layton going as far as saying “It’s my job as a city councillor to critically examine all reports put before us.” (Toronto Sun, “Anti-casino councillors Vaughan, Layton face heat for comments”, April 9th, 2013)

“It is vital in a democracy for councillors to be able to question city staff, but it is equally vital they adhere to the Code of Conduct,” McGuire explained. “There’s a difference between questioning staff and undermining them. Undermining staff is a very serious breach of the Code of Conduct.”

“Quite frankly, we expect better of our city councillors.”

Specifically, the coalition alleges violations of Section XII, Conduct Respecting Staff. It reads, in part:

“Members shall be respectful of the role of staff to provide advice based on political neutrality and objectivity and without undue influence from any individual member or faction of the Council. Accordingly, no member shall maliciously or falsely injure the professional or ethical reputation, or the prospects or practice of staff, and all members shall show respect for the professional capacities of staff.”
– City of Toronto Code of Conduct for Members of Council

McGuire expressed regret the issue has come to this, explaining the entire issue could have been resolved with an apology from each councillor. “We were hoping for a quick resolution to this matter, but Councillor Vaughan and Councillor Layton seem intent on dragging this out. We had no choice but to file a formal complaint to maintain the integrity of City Council.”

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