A school board trustee already censured for breaching the Trustee Code of Conduct will be investigated for a second breach after accusations of making false statements were levelled by the board’s chair.   

A news release by Upper Canada District School Board chair John McAllister last week refuted claims made by fellow trustee Curtis Jordan – who represents Ward 9 (Stormont and Glengarry Counties) at the English Public board.

Jordan, who was censured after Code of Conduct investigation by the board in June, claimed in an interview with Postmedia’s Brockville Recorder and Times that he was censured because he wore jeans to meetings, and failed to follow parliamentary procedure.

“Board of Trustees found that Trustee Jordan breached the Trustee Code of Conduct as a result of comments he made in response to a caution about the need to ensure that his expense claims comply with the Board’s Expense Reimbursement Policy,” McAllister said. 

The censure report, while presented at the June 21 trustee meeting in public session, was not released when requested by The Leader and other outlets. The UCDSB cited privacy matters at the time. A second request for a copy of the report was made July 27 following McAllister’s statement. That report was released by the UCDSB on Monday. 

The report detailed that on April 3, a phone call between Jordan, McAllister, and director of education Ron Ferguson discussed Jordan’s attempt to claim $1,700 travel expenses was denied by the board, and Facebook postings made by Jordan. 

The report said that during the April 3 call, Jordan said “there is at least one homophobe on this call.”

The Code of Conduct breaches (three in all) were investigated by a committee of the trustee board, and senior administration – led by UCDSB vice chair Corina Parisien. Jordan did not participate in the investigation. The board censured Curtis June 21 for six months, meaning he is unable to attend board meetings or act at functions in his role as trustee.

Following the public release of the Code of Conduct report, The Leader contacted Jordan to ask why he did not participate in the original investigation, who he levelled the charges of homophobia against, why he claimed a different reason for his censure,  and why he attempted to claim expenses for a trip not connected to the UCDSB. 

Jordan did not answer any questions sent to him, first stating that “my legal team is currently reviewing this.”

On follow up, he provided a statement that was also released to the Recorder and Times that said:

“I’ve always followed the rules with respect to expenses, and will continue to follow all rules related to expenses. I shamelessly have a zero-tolerance for ableism or homophobia, in all of its forms, and I’m not afraid to speak up. As an openly-queer person, and the only Autistic Trustee in the province, I’m being silenced, targeted and publicly humiliated, but I haven’t done anything wrong. The only mistakes I’ve made since becoming a trustee have been wearing blue jeans to a board meeting, and not consistently using parliamentary procedure. It might be 2023, but this is the way people like me get treated in public life.”

Trustee Jordan did not respond to questions of he plans to participate in the latest Code of Conduct investigation, or if he plans to resign from office. 

Jordan was recognized at Queen’s Park in Toronto with a standing ovation on April 3 as the first openly Autistic elected official in Ontario, the same day that the phone call with McAllister and Ferguson which prompted the initial Code of Conduct complaint incident occurred. 

McAllister confirmed to The Leader that Jordan’s trip to Toronto on and around April 3 was not on behalf of, or for, the UCDSB.

No time line was released for when the second Code of Conduct investigation report will be completed or go before the trustee board. The next trustee meeting is scheduled for September.

By Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 02, 2023 at 11:48

This item reprinted with permission from   Morrisburg Leader   Morrisburg, Ontario

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