Hamilton

Paikin Miller faces HWDSB sanctions over in-camera privacy and 'aggressive' comment

Hamilton's public school board has — once again — sanctioned trustee Carole Paikin Miller, this time for failing to ensure privacy during a remote in-camera session, and for making "aggressive" remarks toward another trustee.

The board says Carole Paikin Miller made an 'aggressive' statement toward trustee Alex Johnstone

HWDSB Ward 5 trustee Carole Paikin Miller is facing additional sanctions, almost a month after the board recommended she resign as a trustee. (Carole Paikin Miller/Facebook)

Hamilton's public school board has — once again — sanctioned trustee Carole Paikin Miller, this time for failing to ensure privacy during a remote in-camera session, and for making "aggressive" remarks toward another trustee.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) already recommended earlier this month that the Ward 5 trustee resign.

The new sanctions are related to an "aggressive statement" toward trustee Alex Johnstone, and for making it possible for others to hear a teleconferenced in-camera session, vice-chair Cam Galindo said during a Monday board meeting.

The board wants Paikin Miller to formally apologize for her comments to Johnstone, which weren't specified on Monday. She must also commit to creating a private space for in-camera sessions, or use headphones if that isn't possible, and apologize for the incident.

"Any future breaches of privacy would include barring the trustee from engaging in private session meetings," Galindo said.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board says trustee Alex Johnstone was the target of an "aggressive statement" made by trustee Carole Paikin Miller. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

He also recommended trustees review their responsibilities for protecting privacy during board meetings.

The details of Paikin Miller's alleged code of conduct violations are still unknown, and the board says a report with more information won't be available until April.

Paikin Miller didn't speak to them at the meeting, and hasn't responded to CBC News requests for comment. Johnstone also declined comment after Monday's meeting.

Trustee Ray Mulholland was the only trustee who voted against the sanctions. Trustee Penny Deathe and Paikin Miller weren't present for that part of the meeting.

Chair Dawn Danko briefly spoke about the motion.

"We are seeking to be transparent and accountable to the public and to one another," she said during the meeting.

"I recognize that we have opportunities to review our board bylaws, our code of conduct structure in terms of reporting publicly, and what is public, and I certainly welcome the future opportunity to do that."

Paikin Miller already faced sanctions

Trustees already sanctioned Paikin Miller earlier this month over an independent report that agreed with a former student trustee that Paikin Miller made anti-Muslim remarks and had a poor attitude at human rights and equity advisory committee meetings. Trustees voted then to ask Paikin Miller, who represents the Centennial area, to resign.

She was also censured, called to publicly apologize and barred from sitting on committees until December 2021.

At the time, Danko said it was "the most serious reprimand possible." 

Paikin Miller's initial election in 2018 was also controversial.

She ran against then-board chair Todd White — a former employee of Paikin Miller's husband, NDP MPP Paul Miller — months after White filed an Ontario human rights complaint against Miller.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bobby Hristova

Reporter/Editor

Bobby Hristova is a reporter/editor with CBC Hamilton. Email: bobby.hristova@cbc.ca

With files from Samantha Craggs

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