2 Mount Pearl councillors face dismissal vote over conflict of interest in Steve Kent probe

Mount Pearl city council is voting Tuesday afternoon to declare the seats of two councillors vacant.

According to the motions to be presented to council, Andrea Power and Andrew Ledwell had conflicts of interest with respect to the harassment investigation involving chief administrative officer Steve Kent.

Both are alleged to have spoken to and/or voted on the investigation over a seven-month period between October 2019 and April 2020, and failed to disclose a conflict.

In a press release, Power denied any wrongdoing.

“Through written submissions made to the city council, I have indicated that at no time was I in a conflict of interest, or in violation of the City of Mount Pearl ethics policy,” Power wrote.

“I maintain that position today, and have instructed my legal counsel to file an appeal with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Steve Kent, after a lengthy service as MHA for Mount Pearl North, became the city’s top bureaucrat in October 2017. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

Ledwell, meanwhile, issued a press release saying it is now time to “blow the whistle on a variety of transgressions” by council.

“We are supposed to be the custodians of this city in which I have grown up, and for which I have worked hard,” he said in a statement.

“However the actions of the mayor, deputy mayor and council have left me no choice. My protests have fallen on deaf ears. So, in the interest of the city and its residents, I have written a letter to the minister of municipal affairs, and asked him to intervene.”

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.

Kent, a former MHA for Mount Pearl North and a former Tory cabinet minister, left provincial politics to take a high-paying job as the top bureaucrat at the City of Mount Pearl in October 2017. 

Mount Pearl city council meets at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to vote on whether or not to dismiss a pair of councillors over an alleged conflict of interest. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Two years later, he stepped away from his position as the city brought in outside investigators to look into Kent’s workplace conduct.

Among allegations at the time were that he mocked subordinates in front of other staff, berated workers verbally and made comments about job security that they have perceived to be intimidating.

Last week, the city announced Kent was no longer the CAO, and in turn, Kent announced he was suing the city for wrongful termination.

In a statement sent last week, Kent said he had uncovered “disturbing” things and “major problems” at city hall, although he did not provide details, citing confidentiality.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

2 Mount Pearl councillors face dismissal vote over conflict of interest in Steve Kent probe

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/mount-pearl-councillors-seats-declared-vacant-vote-1.5633048?cmp=rss
Aggregated from: CBC | Newfoundland and Labrador News

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