Sudbury city councillor violated code of conduct again, integrity commissioner rules

Sudbury Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier is planning to file a complaint about city CAO Ed Archer, who described Montpellier's behaviour as "buffoonish" during a recent budget meeting Dec. 21. (File)

Public criticism of fire management staff in Greater Sudbury has a Greater Sudbury city councillor running afoul of the integrity commissioner for a second time.

Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier first got into trouble in January of this year, during comments he made to CTV News Northern Ontario.

"In January of this year, I investigated a complaint against Councillor Gerry Montpellier alleging that he publicly criticized staff in a letter to the Prime Minister and gave an interview to CTV News on the letter," integrity commissioner Robert Swayze said in a report to city council for their next meeting July 14.

"I found the criticism to be severe and contrary to the code of conduct for members of council and local boards ... I recommended that council suspend the compensation paid to him as a councillor for a period of 60 days. Council did not accept my recommendation, reducing it to a reprimand." Swayze said he received a second complaint May 19 about an interview Montpellier gave to another media outlet.

"The article was published on the same day as the complaint was filed with me and it is attached to this report," Swayze wrote. "He refers to the fire management staff as having a 'condescending nature' and 'endorsing warfare.' The same article quotes him as accusing fire management (of) treating volunteer firefighters as 'third-class citizens.'"

Montpellier's comments are having a negative impact, Swayze added.

"I am advised that the continuing negative public statements by a person who holds a position of influence and authority about staff are having a serious impact on the morale of the professional firefighter staff," he wrote.

"It is obvious that the reprimand against Coun. Montpellier, delivered by council, has not deterred him from continuing to publicly harass professional fire staff."

In finding he had violated the code a second time, Swayze recommended his pay be docked for 60 days.

"If he continues to make negative public comments about staff, my next recommendation will be 90 days suspension," he said.

While Swayze is independent of city council, his sanctions are only recommendations. City council as a whole will decide whether any punishment should be imposed.