WATCH: Freedom of Information Request Filed Following Bizarre Moment at Windsor City Council
A Windsor resident is looking for some answers following a bizarre incident at Windsor's City Council meeting on Monday afternoon.
Melinda Munro has filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request after city councillors held a recorded vote on Monday dealing with the Adie Knox Herman Recreation Complex.
Munro says during the livestream meeting, councillor Ed Sleiman opposed the motion while councillor Jo-Anne Gignac supported it right after.
Viewers could then hear Sleiman say to someone, "I thought we are opposing the motion" before his mic is turned off.
Munro says her FOI is calling on the city to disclose the transcript and recording of what happened in the room with councillor Sleiman and disclose the name and role of the person who allegedly instructed the councillor how to vote.
After watching the meeting, Munro says she was stunned by what she saw.
"Is someone telling him [Councillor Sleiman] how to vote," she questions. "Has he got someone directing his activity from back there" So I don't know if that's true or not so I filed a FOI request to say tell me who was in the room and what they were doing there."
Prior to COVID, council meeting were held in a public room and Munro says nobody would be sitting on the councillor's shoulder there.
"It's really pretty alarming to me in a democracy, somebody is telling councillor Sleiman how to vote," says Munro. "Now I hope that's not what actually happened but boy it sure looked like that what was happening in that meeting, that someone was sitting there. So as a member of the public, I can't see who he's talking to."
Munro says she has talked to a member of council about the situation.
"I asked one councillor about why people were laughing because I felt why are you laughing, why aren't you jumping up and raising a point of order," says Munro. "Why aren't you asking the chair of the meeting to step in and enforce the procedural bylaw and his response was, we were laughing because it's come to that I guess. I'm not sure what he meant by that but that's up to the councillors."
As heard on AM800 News, city council voted on Monday to commit $29-million to renovate the west end complex while also opting to close the pool and shift aquatic programming to the University of Windsor's new pool as a cost saving measure.
Windsor City Councillor Ed Sleiman released the following statement to AM800 News
During the Council Meeting, there was a lot of confusion with it came time for the motions regarding Adie Knox. The first motion from Councillor Costante was long and many Councillors had questions about what it meant. When it came time to vote on Councillor Costante’s motion, I was surprised when Councillor Jo-Anne Gignac voted in support, when her previous comments during debate, I thought she would be opposed.
So, I made a comment about the outcome of the vote because I was really surprised with Jo-Anne’s vote.
Council meetings are a lot of work. And we always prepare by reading in advance and listening to our constituents. We get e-mails from residents both in favour and opposed. Often I will call on Administration, before the meeting, for clarification about specific issues in front of us. I make up my mind after hearing from delegates and participating in debate with all members of Council. Now that we are doing zoom meetings, it has made things a bit harder: I wear a hearing aide and that can cause some problems during an on-line meeting.
But let me tell you – my vote on Council is sacred.
I know that my constituents placed their trust in me and I honour that work every day. Not just in Council meetings, but in the work that we do each day to make life better for the residents of Ward 5 and the City of Windsor.
I am disappointed that some folks are trying to make this into an issue – and hope my answer above helps explain what transpired.