PUSLINCH – Guy Giorno did his best to convince Puslinch council to keep him on as integrity commissioner, but in the end, council passed a bylaw appointing Aird and Berlis LLP as the integrity commissioner for the township for the next four years.
Giorno, a lawyer with Fasken Martineau Dumoulin LLP, was the integrity commissioner for Puslinch from 2018 to 2023.
He delegated to council at its March 1 meeting and said he received notice from the township in February that he would be terminated before his contract was to expire in April.
“The process should be transparent,” he said to council.
“No reason was given; no explanation or justification. It is clouded in secrecy.”
Giorno suggested it was not fair to fire him without giving him the opportunity to respond or defend himself.
And he said according to the draft bylaw included in the meeting agenda package, if approved by council, his contract would terminate on March 1, leaving nine days before the new integrity commissioner took the office.
“If the bylaw passes, you won’t have an integrity commissioner for nine days. You won’t be compliant with the municipal act for nine days,” he said.
“What do you want to do in that period when you don’t have an integrity commissioner?”
No answers were offered and Mayor James Seeley only thanked Giorno for his four years of service.
“It wasn’t lost on me that you responded quickly [to council’s requests],” Seeley said.
Township clerk Courtenay Hoytfox addressed Giorno’s questions when the bylaw came up later in the meeting.
She said Giorno was notified on Feb. 9 that a new integrity commissioner was being considered and that was well within the 30-days notice required in his contract.
She amended the bylaw to take effect March 10 instead of March 1 as was written to address the gap Giorno had pointed out in his delegation.
“We never intended having nine days without one,” Hoytfox said.
Giorno had also been the integrity commissioner for Centre Wellington since 2018 and council there recently approved the appointment of John Mascarin of Aird & Berlis LLP to the role for the next four years.