The City of Hamilton continued to pay Ward 14 Councillor Terry Whitehead his full salary between June 22 and November 15, 2022, according to the City’s 2022 Municipal Act Section 284 report.
The Section 284 Municipal Act report states Whitehead was paid $89,757.72 in 2022.
Whitehead’s pay was to be suspended for 15 days for each of three serious incidents of harassment against city staff and other members of city council.
The previous Council term ended on November 14, with outgoing councillors paid just over $93,000 for the year.
Whitehead’s lower pay reflects a portion of a 30-day pay suspension imposed upon him in late November 2021. The 2021 suspension carried forward into the January 2022 pay period.
City Hall States This Story is Disinformation
City Hall states this story is disinformation.
The City does not dispute the accuracy of its own Section 284 report.
The City does not dispute that Whitehead was paid $89,757.72 in 2022.
The City has not explained the discrepancy, nor why this remuneration suspension was not processed as all others in the past – as a pay suspension.
It is possible Whitehead was moved to short-term disability payments for the final five months of the 2018 – 2022 term.
Whitehead did not seek, nor was he given, a leave of absence for the final nearly five months of the Council term.
Penalty is Not a Fine
Section 223.4(5.2) states a council or local board may impose a “suspension of remuneration paid to the member in respect of his or her services as a member of council or of the local board” for up to 90 days per contravention of a Council Code of Conduct.
Suspension of remuneration differs from fines or similar forms of penalty.
A fine is paid out of after-tax income. A suspension of remuneration means the councillor or local board member never receives the income.
The Municipal Act does not provide for fines or similar forms of penalty to be imposed against councillors.
No Chance of Recovery
In Perrelli v. The Corporation of the Town of Richmond Hill, 2017 ONSC 6062, the Superior Court ruled a municipality cannot deduce from a councillor’s severance payment to recover budget overruns incurred by the councillor while in office.
[The person at the centre of this dispute, Carmine Perrelli, returned to office in 2018 and quickly became the centre of controversy. They did not win in 2022. They have ongoing litigation with the Town.]
Methuku v. Barrow, 2014 ONSC 5277 dealt with a municipal council resolution ordering the Mayor to “personally repay the Town $10,800 for the over-expenditure in the Engagement and Marketing Account.”
The Judge, upon reviewing all the evidence, ruled “there was therefore in fact no over expenditure for which the mayor, or anyone else, could be held responsible.”
The case was a motion by a resident, who was running against the Mayor in the 2014 election, for removal from office under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.
Of importance to the question of municipal authority, Justice Mark L. Edwards considered informed legal arguments in favour of granting the Town Council powers to impose financial penalties upon members of council, and ruled:
“While there may be many members of society who would see it as a positive development where a politician could be held responsible for spending in excess of a budgeted item, such responsibility can only flow where there is statutory authority to do so. There is no statutory authority from my review of the Municipal Act, even with its enhanced powers, that would allow a Municipality to seek restitution or reimbursement in a situation like the one before this court.”
Terry Whitehead is now retired from politics. He keeps his past remuneration and now receives his council pension. The End.
Production Details v. 1.0.0 Published: March 17, 2023 Last edited: March 17, 2023 Author: Joey Coleman Edit Record v. 1.0.0 original version
Pingback: Retired Hamilton councillor who harassed did not face all pay penalties | inTheHammer
Of course if Terry Whitehead had a modicum of decency he would pay the money he owes.
This does not stop the City from putting Whitehead’s debt into the hands of a collection agency. Even if the City
sells the debt for 10¢ on the dollar it would recover something.
There is no debt because the suspension of remuneration is not a fine. There is nothing that can be done about this.