Brampton has new integrity commissioner after nearly a month without a city watchdog


Published April 6, 2022 at 1:52 pm

Brampton finally has a new integrity commissioner, filling a vacancy left open for nearly a month after nearly a month that left Brampton without a city watchdog.

City Council unanimously approved Principles Integrity to take over duties as Brampton’s Integrity Commissioner (IC) on Thursday after the city’s last commissioner was ousted after some councillors questioned her billing practices.

Muneeza Sheikh was removed as Brampton’s integrity commissioner (IC) during a closed-door meeting on March 11 following revelations she had billed more than $500,000 to the city in less than three years.

Principles Integrity serves as the Region of Peel’s IC, as well as more than 40 municipalities and other public sector organisations across Ontario.

The agreement between Brampton and Principles Integrity will run until at least July 2023, which was when Sheikh’s original contract was set to expire.

One of the matters on the new IC’s desk is a possible conflict of interest on the part of Coun. Rowena Santos after the city paid more than $600,000 to consultants on the now-frozen Brampton University project.

The motion came after councillors became aware of payments to consultant Dr. David Wheeler, who is a former professor of Brampton Councillor Rowena Santos.

Santos had previously gone to the IC and received a written letter clearing her of any conflict, but a motion last month put a halt to all work on the project, as well as called on the city’s IC to look at “Santos and the relationship with Mr. Wheeler.”

Sheikh’s removal last month was the latest in a string of controversies which saw Brampton councillors at odds with one another and with city staff.

In February, a majority bloc of six councillors boycotted two meetings in protest of what they called the city’s “authoritarian dictatorship.”

Their absence forced the meeting to be cancelled, with the councillors releasing a joint statement saying democracy in the city is being “stripped away.”

The city’s then-Chief Administrative Officer David Barrick was ousted that same week, and Barrick reportedly plans suing the city for more than $1 million in severance claiming defamation, moral damages, and damages to his reputation.”

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