Sackville Councillor Bruce Phinney has been ordered to undergo training after his colleagues found that he violated council’s new Code of Conduct apparently by making derogatory comments about Jamie Burke, the town’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).
At a closed meeting yesterday, councillors passed a motion declaring that Phinney had violated three sections of the Code that relate to the treatment of other people, including town staff.
One section states that members of council “must not maliciously or falsely injure the professional or ethical reputation, or the prospects or practice of the Town Administration.”
It’s believed council found Phinney violated the Code after he responded to an e-mail from residents opposed to the proposal to build a small-scale slaughterhouse in Sackville’s industrial park.
The residents worried that taxpayers could be stuck with the clean-up costs if the facility went bankrupt.
Clean-up costs an issue for Phinney
In 2019, Phinney called for the firing of senior town staff including Jamie Burke after the town manager negotiated a deal with CN Rail to buy land for Sackville’s new flood control pond that was later found to be contaminated with toxic materials, which cost all three levels of government more than half a million dollars to remove.
It appears that Phinney may have referred to that clean-up in his response to the residents concerned about the proposed slaughterhouse, although it’s not known what he may have said about Burke.
Earlier this year, council found Phinney violated the Code of Conduct during a meeting in which he was the only councillor to vote against appointing Burke as CAO to replace Phil Handrahan.
“The reason I’m voting against it is I feel that the other candidates that we had were much more qualified,” Phinney said. Although it’s not known for sure, it seems likely that Phinney violated the Code of Conduct by disclosing confidential information about another candidate.
During that meeting, Phinney also accused Burke of being responsible for the CN clean-up costs.
The motion that council passed last night requiring Phinney to undergo training says other councillors may participate in the training too.
To read the motion and relevant sections of the town’s Code of Conduct, click here.