Hamilton found to be in conflict of interest in designated truck route vote
A Thunder Bay city councilor has been found to be in conflict of interest when voting on the designated truck route bylaw, the future of which will not be decided until a later date.
According to a report prepared by the Integrity Commissioner for the City of Thunder Bay, which was made public on Monday, McKellar Coun. Brian Hamilton was found to be in conflict of interest when voting on the designated truck route during the June 17 meeting that would have formalized and implemented the bylaw.
The decision to institute a designated truck route was passed last January and ratified in March, both by a vote of 7-6.
Hamilton originally voted in favour of ratifying the designated truck route, but changed his vote during the June 17 meeting and came out against it.
At-large Coun. Trevor Giertuga filed a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner on July 10 regarding concerns about Hamilton’s participation in the June 17 vote and that it breached the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act because of Hamilton’s pecuniary interests as a business owner.
“In discussions with Coun. Giertuga he stated that during the proceedings he had a discussion with Coun.Hamilton about a possible conflict of interest and advised him he thought he was in a conflict and should not participate, but that it was his decision,” the report from the Integrity Commission reads. “When Coun. Hamilton went on to participate in the vote on the bylaw, he felt it was clearly a conflict of interest and breached the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.”
Giertuga said he approached Hamilton advising him of his potential conflict of interest after Hamilton met with Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce president, Charla Robinson, who advised him that his business could be impacted if the designated truck route was implemented.
“He was in favour and after that he did change his vote,” Giertuga said. “Whether that was the reason or not, the optics were there was a conflict of interest.”
The report continues that Hamilton said he had a “high degree of uncertainty around his position on the DTR (designated truck route).”
“He stated that as far as a financial impact to his restaurant it would be minimal except for one reoccurring requirement for product delivery, he for the most part does all his own purchasing.”
The Integrity Commissioner found that Hamilton was in conflict of interest and did breach the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. – tbnewswatch
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Seriously? THIS is a conflict of interest? A councillor can own commercial property all across the city and vote on every issue and that is NOT a conflict of interest? Every council vote affects property in this city in some way…yet THAT is OK? Come on…
Any other business owners on City Council? Any councillors have friends that own businesses? Relatives? Maybe they should not vote as well. In fact, this truck route could affect every resident and business in the city.
The prime beneficiary of a vote to have a designated truck route are the home owners along Dawson Road and its surrounding area. With the trucks gone, property values will surely increase in the area. Does Giertuga know any people who own property in that area? No conflict of interest there?
Councillor Hamilton owns a small coffee shop/restaurant. I can’t see how rerouting the trucks will affect his business at all. If its true that businesses, even small ones such as the Bean Fiend, will be negatively affected by this decision, then maybe that needs to be said and costed out BEFORE the truck traffic shifts. How much is this going to cost the residents of the city?
Giertuga is upset that Hamilton switched his vote. If Hamilton had towed the Giertuga line, then Mr. Giertuga would have said nothing. This conflict of interest complaint is politics in its ugliest form. Plain and simple.