Wednesday, November 13, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Integrity commissioner cleared Bratina

The integrity commissioner has cleared Mayor Bob Bratina of threatening city manager Chris Murray during a heated council meeting.

Earl Basse’s report says Bratina’s tone and comments to Murray during the April 24 discussion on light rail transit were “angry” and “not appropriate” but did not contravene council’s code of conduct.

Basse’s finding was based on the fact that Murray told him he did not feel intimidated or threatened by the mayor’s actions, nor felt his professional reputation had been injured.

According to Basse’s report, other senior managers near Murray did not feel “intimidated or harassed” and Bratina’s tone in his exchange with Murray reflected the “fervent” emotion of the meeting.

Basse notes that the mayor also apologized to Murray after the incident.
Bratina says the investigation was “thorough” and “fair” and his apology to Murray stands.

“I think the important part of the report is directed to council,” he said, adding all 16 members of council need to behave appropriately in their relationships with staff.

Bratina believes overall the relationship between councillors and staff is much better than the previous council term.

“Everyone acknowledges that. The decorum is light years better than it was.”

Council unanimously voted to ask Basse to investigate whether Bratina bullied Murray after the mayor left his chair and spoke aggressively to Murray.

Bratina was apparently responding to Murray’s comments that a proposed motion reaffirming council’s preference for LRT didn’t contradict council’s approved rapid transit plan.

Basse notes that during his investigation he learned that senior managers have a positive relationship with council but often “feel intimidated” when making presentations.

This is the second time Bratina has faced an integrity investigation. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)