Nova Scotia

Council rejects attempt to suspend mayor

An attempt to punish Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly for his role in the cash-for-concerts scandal has failed.

An attempt to punish Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly for his role in the cash-for-concerts scandal has failed.

Coun. Sue Uteck planned to bring a motion forward next week to suspend the mayor for seven days, but regional council blocked the move in a 17-3 vote Tuesday.

Uteck said the quick vote was a ploy by the mayor and his supporters to quash the idea before it could be researched and debated.

"That was kangaroo court, you know. Council is now turning into Romper Room," she told reporters.

"We broke for supper and I was told I had to put a notice of motion on the floor for next week. They waited until the public and the media left and I had to debate it right then and there."

Uteck noted the review of council seats underway at the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board and the possibility of a smaller council.

"You know if people are serious at the UARB, you might as well just have one mayor because that's how this place is being run," she said.

Uteck was hoping the mayor would be punished for his part in the concert cash scandal rocking City Hall. She said many councillors are feeling pressure from the public.

Kelly knew about payments totalling $400,000 to a concert promoter but didn't tell council. An audit found that those improper payments violated the municipal charter.

Suspension questioned

Some councillors said they don't know if suspending a mayor is even possible.

Coun. Russell Walker said he was blindsided by the motion and couldn't support it.

"I've not heard of anywhere in Nova Scotia, let alone Canada, that members of council can suspend their own. And if this motion had passed, somebody could bring forward a motion next week to suspend somebody else for a month," he said.

Councillors did agree on a motion to change breach of trust rules at City Hall. It will be sent to the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities for review.