Township appoints Principles Integrity as new integrity commissioner

KENILWORTH – Wellington North will have a new integrity commissioner in 2023.

Jeffrey Abrams and Janice Atwood-Petkovski, of Toronto-based Principles Integrity, were appointed by council on Sept. 26, with the change taking effect on Jan. 1.

The township was previously included in a joint appointment between six municipalities and the county of Guy Giorno, a lawyer with the Toronto-based law firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin.

Giorno’s appointment term ends this year.

Integrity commissioners, required of all municipalities by provincial law, investigate allegations from the public of council misconduct and conflicts of interest.

Each year, a municipality pays a retainer for the commissioner, who then charges an hourly rate if called upon.

The township has paid Giorno $1,088 since his appointment.

Township clerk Karren Wallace noted in a report to council that “no formal requests for investigations” have been made to the commissioner against any council member.

Abrams and Atwood-Petkovski have previously investigated allegations made against councillors in several municipalities and arrived at recommendations ranging from training, to suspension of pay and formal reprimand.

Principles Integrity also serves as the integrity commissioner for 44 other municipalities and boards.

The annual retainer for the newly appointed commissioner is more expensive at $1,250.

A “block fee” of $1,750 will be charged to the township each day the integrity commissioner is in attendance at a council meeting or board meeting for training and education.

“It is anticipated that the integrity commissioner will be called upon to provide at least one educational session per term,” states an agreement between the commissioner and the township.

Abrams’ and Atwood-Petkovski’s hourly rate of $275 is slightly less then Giorno’s $300 hourly rate.

The integrity commissioner will also receive a travel stipend.

The term will conclude in December of 2026, unless it is extended or ended earlier by the township with advanced notice.