Renfrew –Mayor Tom Sidney, who was chair of the town’s parks and recreation committee and a member of Renfrew council (2018-2022) that approved the $18.1 million Ma-te-Way expansion project that ballooned to a $35 million financial burden, may be asked to resign as head of council by fellow Councillor Kyle Cybulski.

Coun. Cybulski, one of five new councillors elected to the seven-seat council following the 2022 municipal elections, was scheduled to introduce a Notice of Motion during Tuesday night’s (March 26) council meeting demanding the mayor resign. 

Unfortunately, the Leader went to press prior to Coun. Cybulski’s opportunity to formally introduce his motion.

The Notice of Motion is an agenda item and can be submitted for consideration. If accepted, the issue will be tabled and returned to council at a later date in order for staff and council to research the issue. If the motion is brought back to council, a vote may be taken at that time.

Coun. Cybulski said the recent presentation made by WSCS Consulting into the circumstances surrounding the Ma-te-Way expansion led him to submit his motion.

The motion makes references to Mayor Sidney’s role as a member of two councils (2014-2018 and 2018-2022) and his role as chair of the parks and recreation committee for eight years and a member of the Ad-Hoc Ma-Te-Way Advisory Committee. This convinced Coun. Cybulski that those roles placed Mayor Sidney in several major discussions and financial decisions regarding Ma-te-Way. 

The motion claims the mayor’s inability to identify several irregularities or inform the general public of the many examples of wasted tax dollars makes him unsuitable for the role of mayor.

The motion follows a previous motion introduced by Councillor John McDonald. His motion, which was adopted by a 4-3 recorded vote during a January council meeting, demanded that Mayor Sidney resign because a majority of council lost faith in his leadership. 

Councillors McDonald, Andrew Dick, Jason Legris and Clint McWhirter voted in favour and Mayor Sidney, Reeve Emon and Coun. Cybulski voted against. 

Prior to voting on the January motion, Coun. Cybulski announced he would vote against Coun. McDonald’s motion because he argued it was unfair to cast a vote until the consultants completed their investigation. 

The consultants appeared before council on March 21 and presented several more examples of faulty practices committed by both town staff and elected officials. They stated the report was 95 percent complete.

However, similar to Coun. McDonald’s motion, if Coun. Cybulski’s motion is passed, it has no legal authority to force Mayor Sidney to resign. The roles and responsibilities of a mayor are clearly defined in the Municipal Act and a mayor cannot be forced to resign due to a motion. 

If such a motion is passed, it is only a symbolic message that a majority of his fellow councillors have lost faith in his leadership.

McDonald Wants Mayor Off Committees

Coun. McDonald, the author of the motion that was approved in January demanding the mayor resign immediately, has once again introduced a motion questioning the mayor’s ability to lead council. His recent motion is not demanding Mayor Sidney’s resignation, but the motion is designed to reduce his powers.

“Therefore be it resolved that Renfrew Town Council remove Mayor Tom Sidney from all remaining committees, working groups, and external boards, effective immediately,” the motion stated.  

Similar to Coun. Cybulski’s motion, Coun. McDonald’s rationale stems from the findings of the Ma-te-Way audit and what he perceives as Mayor Sidney’s actions, or in some cases, his perceived inactions. 

He placed a second Notice of Motion on the March 26 agenda and it calls for Reeve Peter Emon to be removed from all committee assignments or appointments. Coun. McDonald argued that as a member of both council and the Ad-Hoc Advisory Group and the Human Resources Committee Chair, he also failed to show leadership. 

The Motion states:

“Whereas, Reeve Peter Emon has chaired the Human Resources committee since 2014 and was a member of the Ma-te-Way Expansion Project’s ad hoc committee; Therefore be it resolved that Renfrew Town Council remove Reeve Peter Emon from all committees, working groups, and external boards, effective immediately.”

The roles and responsibilities of the elected position of reeve are defined by the Municipal Act and council members cannot remove a reeve from committee assignments.

The motion calling for Reeve Emon’s removal from committee or board assignments makes no reference to any County of Renfrew committee memberships as Renfrew town council has no authority to restrict Reeve Emon’s county assignments.

By Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 27, 2024 at 15:05

This item reprinted with permission from   The Eganville Leader   Eganville, Ontario
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