Innisfil mayor, councillor who breached code of conduct, docked pay

The exterior of the Innisfil Town Hall. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

An Innisfil councillor has resigned and a second councillor and the town’s mayor have been docked 45 days’ pay after council voted to adopt some of the findings of a report from the integrity commissioner.

The vote came during a dramatic public meeting Wednesday evening, which was called after the report was made public last week.

The report found that Mayor Gord Wauchope, Coun. William Loughead and Coun. Doug Lougheed breached the code of conduct in their dealings with a developer the town was in negotiations with.

All three men made public statements at Wednesday’s meeting vehemently rejecting the report’s findings.

READ MORE: Integrity report finds Innisfil mayor, councillors breached code of conduct during negotiations with developer

“I have been on council since 1996, and I can tell you at no time have I divulged information to anyone outside of council,” Wauchope said.

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Loughead maintained he had not disclosed any information from closed meetings and said he was the first one to report the possibility of a leak.

Similarly, Lougheed said he did not divulge any information during a phone call with an agent from the developer as was alleged in the report.

And, after the three men recused themselves, the remaining members of council voted to adopt the findings detailed in the integrity commissioner’s report against Coun. William Loughead and Mayor Gord Wauchope.

However, council voted against adopting the findings which suggested Lougheed had breached the code of conduct.

In separate votes, council voted to dock Loughead and Wauchope 45 days’ pay.

Additionally, council voted in favour of directing town staff to consult with the integrity commissioner and report back on policy amendments to address the regulation of lobbying activity, gifts and benefits from lobbyists and a plan for training staff and members of council.

Following the recorded votes, Lougheed tendered his resignation.

“I have no interest in serving on a council with people who don’t believe me,” Lougheed told reporters. “I’m done with the town of Innisfil, I’m done with council, it’s up to the next council, simple as that.”

According to Lougheed, his resignation is effective immediately.

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Loughead left the council meeting before speaking with media and Wauchope was not immediately available for comment following the proceedings.

The report, ordered unanimously by members of council on April 18, probed allegations of “improper sharing” of information from closed-session meetings between council and town staff to a development company.

The developer was not named in the integrity report, however, at Wednesday’s council meeting, it was revealed to be Friday Harbour, a lake club set to open soon in Innisfil.

Integrity commissioner Janet Leiper found Wauchope breached sections 14 and 26 of the code of conduct by taking phone calls from the developer while on vacation. Additionally, the report found Wauchope had failed to co-operate during the investigation.

The investigation revealed Loughead breached sections 13 and 14 of the code of conduct by involving himself in communications between town staff and the development company. According to the report, Loughead had also applied to work at the development company twice, once in 2016, and again in 2017.

Leiper’s report found that Lougheed breached section 14 of the code of conduct by taking a phone from an agent with the development company following a closed-session meeting.

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