Integrity Commissioner Finds Mayor Cooper To Be in Conflict on Airport Matter

An Integrity Commissioner report prepared by Principles Integrity has found that Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper had a conflict of interest by participating in discussion and voting at the February 12, 2018 meeting of Collingwood Council with regards to Staff Report C2018-01 titled “Consulting Advisory Services in the Sale of the Collingwood Regional Airport.”

“The essence of the complaint is that Mayor Sandra Cooper, given her brother’s position as Senior Vice-President of Operations and Business Development with the Clearview Aviation Business Park, had a conflict of interest in that she contravened s.7 “Improper Use of Influence” of the Collingwood Code of Conduct when she voted on the report.”

The report states that although Mayor Cooper attempted to avoid contravening s. 7, “Improper Use of Influence” by checking with the Director of Public Works and with her brother to ascertain whether CABP had made inquiries about the Airport property, her better course of action would have been to declare an interest and not participate.

“We find that Mayor Cooper did have a conflict of interest on the matter, given her brother’s business interest in the CABP, and that she should have declared an interest and recused herself from participating and voting on Staff Report C2018-001 at the February 12, 2018 meeting of Council.”

The Mayor’s brother, Paul Bonwick, is the Senior Vice-President of Operations and Business Development for the Clearview Aviation Business Park, a development company located immediately adjacent to the Collingwood Regional Airport.

In conducting this investigation, Principles Integrity applied the principles of procedural fairness and was guided by the complaint process set out under the Town of Collingwood Code of Conduct.

The report states that even though it found Mayor Cooper to have a conflict of interest in the matter, there will be no sanctions.

“Even though we find that the Mayor contravened the Code of Conduct by failing to declare an interest in the matter of the Staff Report C2018-01 titled “Consulting Advisory Services in the Sale of the Collingwood Regional Airport” before Council at the February 12, 2018 meeting, this does not appear to be a case for sanctions.”

The matter is on the Monday May 14th Collingwood Council Meeting Agenda.

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