Mayor Patrick Brown and five councillors no-show at meeting on BramptonU audit

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Published September 12, 2022 at 11:56 am

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown (centre) and Councillors Rowena Santos (top left), Paul Viciente (bottom left), Harkirat Singh (top right), and Michael Palleschi (bottom right).

Mayor Patrick Brown and five city councillors were missing once again in Brampton Council Chambers, this time for a special meeting to discuss the cancelled Brampton University forensic audit and investigations into city-awarded contracts.

Monday’s meeting was just the latest in over a dozen sessions on council’s calendar which have been scrapped in recent months due to not enough members in attendance or short-notice cancellations.

The special meeting was set to start at 9:00 a.m. and had only two agenda items – an update on the cancelled forensic audit into more than $629,000 of taxpayer funds paid to consultants on the cancelled BramptonU project, and the scrapped investigation on the city’s request for proposal (RFP) process reviews.

But the meeting was called off when Mayor Brown and Councillors Michael Palleschi, Harkirat Singh, Paul Vicente, Rowena Santos and Gurpreet Dhillon failed to show up.

Councillors Pat Fortin, Martin Mediros, Jeff Bowman, and Doug Whillans were all in attendance, and the city agenda noted that the matters were “resolved” at a meeting on Aug. 26 which saw the investigations axed.

City Clerk Peter Fay said Brown, Palleschi, Singh, Vicente, Santos sent their regrets for missing the meeting, while Councillor Dhillon was absent.

Both the BramptonU audit and RFP investigations were called off in motions tabled by Mayor Brown last month, despite investigators finding “possible conflicts of interest” on the BramptonU file, and Coun. Jeff Bowman’s allegations of a cover up on council.

Prior to the vote which ended the investigations, the City Clerk reminded council of previous advice from the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office to ensure there is “time and resources” to complete any third-party investigations initiated by council.

The current term of council has developed a pattern of councillors blocking discussion items, motions and reports and council business by not attending meetings, or by axing them ahead of time.

Just last week, Mayor Brown cancelled two scheduled meetings – one of which would have seen colleagues question why the investigations were cancelled before they were completed.

Back in July, at least 10 meetings were cancelled due to no-shows as a fractured council butted heads over an illegal motion to fill a council seat. Council members on both sides of the issue missed meetings, including Brown’s camp who skipped out in order to protect the city “from potential legal risks” related to the motion, the mayor said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the mayor told inSauga last week that “Brampton will have one more house keeping (sic) meeting” before the October municipal election, even though council’s calendar shows both a committee of council and a regular council meeting scheduled for Sept. 21 and Sept. 28 respectively.

There is a second special meeting scheduled for Monday at 4:00 p.m., and the agenda includes more 20 discussion items at the request of the mayor ranging from park renamings to adding open air gym equipment to Michael Murphy Park, as well as other business including delegations from Peel Regional Police and other matters.

Any discussion of the BramptonU audit or the RFP investigation are not on that agenda.

With a municipal election looming, all current members of council except Jeff Bowman and Doug Whillans are running for re-election.

Brampton voters will go to the polls to choose the next term of council on Oct. 24.

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