Rob Ford’s successor stays in office despite sexual harassment allegations

Story highlights Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown’s resignation on Monday Report finds Mr. Brown breached the province’s code of conduct Report finds staff spent little time for other roles when he was in office One…

Rob Ford’s successor stays in office despite sexual harassment allegations

Story highlights Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown’s resignation on Monday

Report finds Mr. Brown breached the province’s code of conduct

Report finds staff spent little time for other roles when he was in office

One week after two City of Brampton employees accused Toronto Mayor Rob Ford of sexual harassment, the Ontario Municipal Board overturned his removal for an alleged relationship with one of them. The public lands in the middle of the fight when both men have worked in political arenas and are now under fire.

A Special Administrative Appeal is all that is known at this time, and by the time this story made it to CNN, a city staffer had already said the OMB had “vindicated” Mayor Patrick Brown.

“I am excited for the opportunity to unite Brampton, and I am confident that our plans for transformation and revitalization will put Brampton on a new path of prosperity,” Mayor Brown said in a statement. “The truth is out, I did nothing wrong and the Special Administrative Appeal Panel, an independent body, has spoken.”

Brampton City CEO Paul Jensen echoed the mayor’s feelings. “I’m very excited that there has been a resolution, the truth is out and now we can move forward as a city, and as a community, in a positive way,” he said.

However, Clayton Ruby, who represented one of the women, said the whole process “is not independent, all these parties are agreeing.” In his statement, he said: “With the OMB decision, this government has done nothing, or next to nothing, for the women. The OMB decision is not real, it is based on hearsay and people that don’t know each other. The OMB has vindicated Rob Ford, but what really matters here is the truth.”

Ford, who lost re-election in 2018, was stripped of his mayoral title in 2013 after admitting to having smoked crack while in office.

Mayor Brown resigned on Monday after his relationship with Cassandra Hines, the city’s spokeswoman, was revealed. Though he couldn’t officially access city funds and did not receive a sizable salary, his role in Brampton was kept secret at city hall.

When a CNN reporter asked Brampton about the relationship between the mayor and Hines, a spokesperson said it wasn’t under their jurisdiction to say anything. This was then amended to say there would be no interviews and no more questions.

Nevertheless, CNN spoke to a city employee, who described how many of the councilors didn’t fully understand the work of the mayor.

“They would be saying it wasn’t his job to lead this city, that he was the head and they were the head,” she said. “They were oblivious to what his daily responsibility was and all of the reasons why the municipality didn’t do certain things.”

Hines’ lawyer, Mark Swarbrick, told CNN this was about better “accountability.” “It would help with accountability on the part of this board that the taxpayers of Brampton have these individuals held accountable for their failure to perform the duties of office,” he said.

At a press conference held after the city’s announcement, Swarbrick said the report highlighted the lack of transparency around the mayor. “There was a perception of lack of accountability. The fact that a report was released to the media so early today was definitely a no-no,” he said.

After details of the report’s contents came to light, city councillor Gary Crawford said the report “clearly showed the possibility of an ethical breach.”

“What we’ve seen today clearly suggests that the complaints were either frivolous or meritless,” he said.

By law, the city is allowed to appeal this report to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

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