Hamilton's integrity commissioner may investigate Bratina LRT incident
Hamilton councillors will face a motion next week to have the integrity commissioner investigate an exchange between Mayor Bob Bratina and the city's top bureaucrat.
Coun. Sam Merulla will introduce the notice of motion at a council meeting May 8. That means councillors will likely vote on it later in May.
"I want to have an independent third party source thoroughly investigate the allegation of bullying and come back with an independent conclusion that eliminates any perception of political inference from us," he told CBC Hamilton on Thursday.
The exchange with the mayor happened on April 24 during a tense debate about Light Rail Transit (LRT). Coun. Brian McHattie introduced a motion to "reaffirm" that LRT was the city's transit priority. It also directed the mayor to convey council's position when dealing with the province.
But councillors ended up debating whether the motion conflicted with the city's Rapid Ready plan. City manager Chris Murray said he didn't think it did.
After that, Bratina left his seat and approached Murray, speaking to him in aggressive way, said Merulla, who did not hear what the two men said. The Ward 4 councillor announced his intention to ask for a full investigation.
Bratina said in a statement the next day that he regretted the loss of decorum at the meeting, and that he meant no disrespect to Murray.
Merulla told CBC Hamilton on Thursday that the commissioner can look at the testimony presented and speak to witnesses.
In the past week, he has grown to feel even more strongly that an investigation should be done, he said.
Merulla will also introduce a motion Wednesday about Hamilton Police Service.
If passed, council will ask the province to allow city council to govern the police services board, which is currently a stand-alone board overseen by the province.
Merulla also wants council to either appoint the board, or for the board to be comprised entirely of city councillors, "or a combination of councillors and citizens, as council may determine."