Huntsville Councillor Brian Thompson is in hot water over a text message he sent Grant Nickalls, a director at Hunters Bay Radio (HBR), “containing a vulgar comment” about the station’s managing director Jeff Carter, according to a report compiled by the municipality’s integrity commissioner.
“We should chat soon before HBR becomes the mouthpiece of TW [Councillor Tim Withey],” begins the text attached to the report by integrity commissioner Robert Swayze, and included in the agenda package for Huntsville Council’s upcoming December 17 meeting.
“Jeff would likely blow TW just to be part of the ongoing tempest in a teapot!!!” adds Thompson in his text. According to Withey, Thompson’s text was in relation to Withey’s opposition to building two “brand new” hospitals in Muskoka.
Carter launched a complaint about the text and following an investigation Swayze concluded that Thompson’s text, which he said contained “profane and guttural language,” is in contravention of the Council Code of Conduct. Swayze also noted that the Code urges councillors to treat members of the public with dignity, understanding, and respect.
“Thompson has failed to treat a member of the public with ‘dignity, understanding and respect’. In addition, he has failed to recognize that he represents a government in all of his dealings with the public and his action reflects badly on public confidence which he should be promoting. I find that Councillor Thompson has contravened the Code,” added Swayze.
As required, Swayze noted that he had served a copy of the complaint to Thompson and requested a response within 14 days.
“His response was apologetic to the complainant, to members of Council and staff. He acknowledged that the text was misguided and a mistake on his part. I have decided to recommend only a reprimand because it is a first offence and this report must be made public as required by the Municipal Act. It is hoped that Councillor Thompson will be aware that a repeat offence will have more serious consequences,” added Swayze.
His report will be brought before Council at its regular evening meeting on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. You can find Swayze’s report here.
Clarification: An earlier version of this story suggested that Councillor Brian Thompson’s text message may have been referencing Councillor Tim Withey’s vocal opposition to appointing a replacement for former Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison, rather than holding a byelection. After publication, Withey contacted Huntsville Doppler to say that Thompson’s text was in relation to Withey’s opposition to building two “brand new” hospitals in Muskoka.
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