Hamilton has finished investigation into employee linked to white supremacists
City officials won't say whether or not he's still employed in the IT Department
Hamilton has finished its investigation into an employee with links to white supremacists, but staff say the "process" is still ongoing so they won't say whether or not he still works for the city.
City manager Janette Smith gave councillors an update on the situation surrounding Marc Lemire, the former head of the Heritage Front, behind closed doors during the general issues committee meeting Monday, according to city spokesperson Jen Recine.
"While we can certainly appreciate that there is a great deal of public interest in this issue, this is a personnel matter and this process is still ongoing," she added. "In an effort to maintain the integrity of the process, the city is unable to provide further details at this time."
Recine confirmed that the investigation is over, but declined to provide more detail, saying Smith will provide an update "at the appropriate time."
Lemire has been on paid leave since May 8 after a Vice News report led to safety and privacy concerns being raised about his role in IT. Questions were also asked about how much the city knew of his past when it hired him.
The city has called in two outside agencies to probe what information he's accessed at the city and whether he's still involved in white supremacist activities, among other details.
Lemire has been working in the city's IT department since about 2005. He had ties with the white supremacist movement dating back to the early 90s, and at one point, worked full-time for Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, a 2005 court document shows. He was working "to develop websites to disseminate messages of racial hatred and to incite violence," it says.
He was also head of the Heritage Front until the organization's demise, which happened around the same time the city hired him.
In an email to CBC News from early May, Lemire said he hasn't been involved in "any politics" for many years, adding the "Heritage Front stuff" dates back to when he was a teen.
"I reject the Heritage Front for what it was; as I have stated consistently for over 11 years," he wrote.
Lemire did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment on the investigation Tuesday.
Council is scheduled to meet Friday, but its unclear if the city will be in a position to update the public at that time.
Following the council meeting in July, Smith said the investigation was complicated as officials had to balance completing a thorough probe with making sure it was wrapped up in a timely manner.
When asked whether it's possible the investigation could end without the city ever making any comment about it, she gestured at reporters and said "I would suspect that yourselves and others will ask a question about it and, depending on the question, I will tell you what I can. But I will not provide any information that doesn't respect employee confidentiality."