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No financial sanctions against Wasaga deputy mayor

 Gisele Winton Sarvis


Wasaga Beach town council will not be imposing economic sanctions on Deputy Mayor Nina Bifolchi.

“Council is respecting the integrity commissioner’s report with no further sanctions,” Bifolchi wrote in a Feb. 15 email to the Enterprise-Bulletin following a closed committee-of-the-whole meeting on the subject Tuesday night.

Before the committee went into closed session, Bifolchi said she would not speak, as per advice of her attorney.

Following the session, Mayor Brian Smith said the decision to accept the report of the integrity commissioner was approved “unanimously.”

Integrity commissioner Robert Swayze, in his report to council on Jan. 24, gave Bifolchi a “strong warning” against criticizing staff.

Complaints were filed against her last fall by Andrew McNeill, director of economic development and tourism, under the Code of Conduct after she criticized his handling of the file, including the purchase of a song for the town that was originally written to promote a local beer company.

Swayze determined McNeill worked within his authority on all topics.

“You don’t criticize staff publicly,” he said at the meeting, adding she should discuss criticisms of staff behind closed doors.

He added sanctions would be brought against her if there is another, similar complaint where he determines she acted against policy.

However, Coun. Bonnie Smith didn’t think Swayze went far enough and called for council to bring its own sanctions against Bifolchi.

“We are going to meet in the next 30 days and decide on sanctions against the deputy mayor," Coun. Smith said. 

Swayze confirmed council has the authority to impose sanctions and go so far as to remove members of council.  

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