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June 29, 2022

A motion to reprimand Grey Highlands Mayor McQueen at Grey County Council is defeated

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BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — On March 21, 2022 the Integrity Commission received a complaint filed by County Council member Owen Sound Deputy Mayor Brian O’Leary, requesting an investigation into whether alleged conduct by Mayor McQueen contravened the Council Code of Conduct of Grey County or Grey Highlands.

Grey County Deputy Warden Paul McQueen sits on the Affordable Housing Task Force and Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) and was accused of attending both meetings virtually, at the same time on March 17, 2022.

Jeffrey Abrams and Janice Atwood Petkovski, representatives from Principles Integrity attended Grey County Council meeting on June 23rd to present their findings after their investigation.

The Integrity Commission's report states that it does not recommend any sanctions be imposed.

McQueen was appointed to the NEC and to the Affordable Housing Task Force by Grey County Council. He was elected chair by the members of the Task Force.

Meeting schedules for the NEC are set before the beginning of each year. Meetings for committees are set months in advance.

County staff try to avoid meeting schedule conflicts but they are unavoidable at times.

Before Zoom, meetings were conducted in person. With meetings taking place virtually, it is possible with multiple devices, to attend meetings simultaneously.

The report states "The notion that a participant, physically sitting in a meeting, may momentarily shift their focus to check emails or send a text message is not considered problematic. However, the idea of participation, which engages active listening and thoughtful deliberation, in more than one meeting simultaneously throws into question meaningful participation in either meeting."

McQueen said that he has made changes and does not take this lightly. He also said that, in future, he will do better and it would not happen again.

Council voted to receive the integrity commissioner's report and look into the virtual meeting policies at Grey County.

A motion to reprimand McQueen was voted against by the majority of Council. Owen Sound and Southgate Council members were in favour of the motion.

Video of the meeting is available at this link


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