FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch released the complaint it has filed with City of Toronto Integrity Commissioner Jonathan Batty requesting an investigation and ruling that City Councillor Jim Karygiannis’ statements recorded in November 2018 and reported last Saturday in the Toronto Star about how he gives preferential treatment to supporters and retaliates against non-supporters violate the Code of Conduct for Members of Council (the “Code”).
As the Star article details, Councillor Karygiannis was recorded saying that he usually doesn’t report bylaw violations by people who volunteer, vote for or donate to him, and that he does report violations by non-supporters with “twice the pleasure.”
The preamble to the Code includes three statements of principle that “underline” the Code, including that members of Council should serve their constituents “conscientiously” and perform their functions with “integrity” and perform their duties “in a manner that promotes public confidence and will bear close public scrutiny.”
The Code also has specific rules that prohibit: “the use of one’s status as a member of Council to improperly influence the decision of another person” to advantage of the councilor or their family or associates (Article VII), and treating members of the public inappropriately, including through bullying or intimidation (Article XIV).
“Democracy Watch believes that Councillor Karygiannis’ statements amount to a confession that he gives preferential treatment to supporters and retaliates against non-supporters, and that the Integrity Commissioner should investigate and rule that he has violated the council’s code of conduct,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch, who filed the complaint affidavit on behalf of Democracy Watch. “Councillor Karygiannis’ statements about his actions so unethically violate the key, democratic function of a councillor to serve all constituents fairly and well that the Integrity Commissioner should recommend the maximum penalties of a 90-day suspension of pay and his removal from all city committees and boards.”
Councillor Karygiannis should also face these maximum penalties because the Integrity Commissioner already found him guilty in 2016 of mistreating a constituent and member of the public.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Democracy Watch’s Government Ethics Campaign