For the past six weeks Brampton City Council has been in a stalemate due to a faction of six councillors led by Councillor Martin Medeiros to retain control of the city by pre-appointing retired Councillor Elaine Moore on May 31st as a replacement for Councillor Charmaine Williams. On Monday, July 11th, the Superior Court of Justice found the actions of the Medeiros faction to have been illegal and awarded $20,000 to be paid by the Corporation of the City of Brampton. The City of Brampton is funded primarily by property tax payers who are effectively now paying for the actions of the Medeiros led faction.
On Tuesday, the Mayor and four councillors who opposed the Medeiros faction held a media conference implying that the $20,000 penalty was the responsibility of the six councillors. A review of the decision by the Superior Court of Justice clearly indicates that it is the City that is on the hook. This is in addition to the legal costs incurred by the city to hire lawyers to prepare for and defend the actions of the majority faction of six councillors.
Watch as Wards 3&4 Regional Councillor Martin Medeiros claims that council can do what it wants while challenging members of the public to take legal action.
What is even more egregious is that councillors were advised prior to pre-appointing Moore that they would be contravening the Municipal Act. As stated in the Superior Court’s decision, “The City Solicitor and the City Clerk advised, in open session, that the motion did not comply with the statutory requirements for filling a Council vacancy.” Instead of following this advice, the Medeiros led faction vigorously pursued their actions, cited their own external legal opinion, and eventually fired the City Solicitor. All of these costs, including severance for the City Solicitor all lands on the shoulders of property tax payers.
Wards 3 & 4 Councillor Martin Medeiros has been spearheading the actions and is the most vocal opponent of the Mayor, at one point in public session saying that “council reigns supreme.” The issue at hand is the strong desire from the Medeiros faction to continue their aggressive approach to managing the city which has recently led to the firing of the city’s CAO, HR Director, Director of Communications, Integrity Commissioner and most recently the City Solicitor. The total severance bill for these firings has yet to be disclosed.
Medeiros, who has not yet filed for re-election is strongly believed to be considering a run for the Mayor’s seat and has taken every opportunity to discredit the current Mayor Patrick Brown and other councillors. Medeiros and his Wards 3&4 Councilmate Jeff Bowman have been especially critical of the hiring of David Barrick as CAO early in this term of council, neglecting that it was a unanimous decision that the both voted for. Bowman is on record as saying he was unaware of controversies surround Barrick in his previous employment even though any elementary student could easily do a Google Search to find this information.
The Superior Court’s decision in this case is a strong warning should future councillors anywhere in the Province of Ontario attempt to break the law again. The decision says that “while generally the appropriate standard of review on questions of law is correctness, courts are cautioned in cases involving municipal challenges to require “clear demonstration” before concluding that a municipality’s decision
is made without jurisdiction.”
Councillor Charmaine Williams who voted in favour to pre-appoint her successor is now an Associate Minister in the Provincial Legislature. Her actions were singled out in the Superior Court’s decision that said “the design of the mechanism is clearly intended to maintain the integrity of the process for replacing members on Council by excluding departing incumbents from the process to avoid any potential for mischief or the appearance of impropriety.”
Where council goes next is still uncertain as there is no clear majority and a municipal campaign is now underway.
See full decision on the pre-appointment of Elaine Moore to replace Charmaine Williams in Wards 7&8: