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City spent $50,000 to investigate complaints against city councillor Jim Handley, report reveals

Integrity Commissioner found emails, social media posts contravened policies
Thorold city hall. Photo: Bob Liddycoat/Thorold News archive

The city of Thorold spent close to $50,000 for the investigation against councillor Jim Handley, city documents show.

It was late last year that Handley became the subject of an investigation by the city's Integrity Commissioner over several communications with staff deemed in violation of city policies.

The investigation found Handley had sent several combative emails to staff, and also criticized fellow councillors on social media, and as a result Handley had his council pay suspended for eight months and was obligated to undergo sensitivity- and communications training, as well as issue a formal apology.

During its last council meeting, staff were asked by council to present the total cost for the investigation, that was carried out by the law firm Aird & Berlis which is the city's appointed integrity commissioner .

The report, prepared ahead of Tuesday's meeting, shows the investigation cost totalled $49,265 to investigate the eight complaints that were filed against Handley.

Staff said that equates to $6,158 per complaint.

According to the report, 14 other complaints and two inquiries were filed under the city's Code of Conduct in 2020, but were dismissed after being reviewed after no contraventions were found.

In 2021, one complaint has been filed and is still under review. The report did not mention what the nature of that complaint is.

Thorold Mayor Terry Ugulini declined to comment on the report.

Ludvig Drevfjall

About the Author: Ludvig Drevfjall

Ludvig Drevfjall has been the editor of ThoroldToday since January 2020. He has worked as a journalist in Sweden, British Columbia and Ontario
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