LEVY: Show me the money, Denzil

Just after the writ dropped for the provincial election in May, deputy mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong informed me he was taking an unpaid leave until election day to run for MPP for the Ontario PCs in Don Valley East.

Actually, indicating he was taking an unpaid leave was misleading considering that the city’s code of conduct for council members has virtually no rules for councillors who decide to trade up to a presumably better job.

In fact, buried in the first chapter of the council handbook is a stipulation that “members cannot refuse to receive remuneration from the city” but can choose to donate their salary (after deductions) to a charity or back to the city.

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So Minnan-Wong went off to campaign, still collecting his pay, but indicating to all who questioned him he’d be taking an “unpaid leave.”

He lost to Liberal Michael Coteau on June 7.  It has now been 33 days and while he insisted on the John Oakley show Tuesday that he took an unpaid leave, he did collect his remuneration and has yet to donate anything, not to the city or to a charity of his choice.

He did find time to sign up on July 4 to run again in Ward 32.

He told me by text Tuesday that he is “currently clarifying the process and rules with the (city) clerks office” and will be remitting the salary he collected during the 30-day election period (the equivalent of about $9,300) to the city or to a charity.

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My efforts to ask him when that might happen by text and phone Tuesday and Wednesday yielded no response.

I also approached the clerks office at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. At 5 p.m. I got this two-line response from spokesman Wynna Brown: “Councillors continue to be compensated … They may voluntarily repay their salary to the city or they could donate it to a charity if they wish to do so. It is at their discretion.”

Minnan-Wong also informed me back in May that he let Mayor John Tory know that he’s “happy to come back on an urgent basis” if needed for city business.

Sources told me recently that during the 30-day election campaign, city staff did try to contact him with time-sensitive planning issues but got no response.

So much for his concern for taxpayers.

The situation with Minnan-Wong, coupled with his colleague Shelley Carroll’s decision to run again for council again last Friday, is exactly why there should be term limits and why council should be cut in half.

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The councillors’ code of conduct needs to be tightened up to spell out precisely that those who choose to trade up need to take a leave of absence without pay.

But what is supposed to be a public service has become jobs for life for these entitled porkers.

Carroll, of course, resigned from council in April to run for MPP for the Liberals in Don Valley North — walking out the door with a year’s severance, the equivalent of $111,956.

Having lost badly on June 7 and with the ink barely dry on her severance cheque, Carroll appeared at City Hall with an entourage of alleged progressives to sign up to run again in her newly redrawn ward last Friday morning.

No indication yet on whether Chin Lee, who also collected his council severance after leaving to run for the Liberals in Scarborough, will be signing up to run again as councillor, having lost provincially.

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Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies

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