Sudbury

Sudbury council votes to remove colleague from police board

Sudbury city councillors voted Tuesday to remove Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini from the Greater Sudbury Police Services Board. 

Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini removed from board due to comments made in finance committee meeting

Sudbury councillors voted nine to two to remove Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini from the city's Police Services Board. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

Sudbury city councillors voted Tuesday to remove Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini from the Greater Sudbury Police Services Board. 

Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc put forward the motion due to an exchange that occurred during the city's finance committee meeting on Jan. 18, 2022.

During that meeting Vagnini said he witnessed a woman fleeing eight men from a shelter in a tent encampment located in Memorial Park.

During that meeting Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger asked Vagnini if he reported the incident to police.

Vagnini responded, "That's a great question. Through you Mr. Chair,  I have a meeting tomorrow morning with the Police Board and that is going to be the first question I ask so thank you very much for that Mr. Mayor."

Leduc proposed Tuesday's motion to remove Vagnini from the Police Services Board was because he deemed the councillor was not fit to serve in that role.

"He did not recognize a crisis, and I believe as a councillor, and especially as part of that board, you've got to be able to pick up that phone and make that call to 911," Leduc said during the council meeting Tuesday. 

"We can't wait three or four days on the road when we see a person in distress," he added.

Councillors voted nine to two in favour of removing Vagnini from the Police Services Board. Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altman was chosen, through a vote, to take his place on the board.

Vagnini also faces allegations of threatening Leduc in an unrelated incident. The North Bay Police Service is investigating those allegations. Because Vagnini is a councillor, and was a member of the Greater Sudbury Police Services Board, the case was passed on to North Bay.

"I categorically deny that I committed any criminal offence," Vagnini said in a statement released on Jan. 31.

During Tuesday's debate on whether or not to remove Vagnini from the Police Services Board, Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti called the motion a "waste of time" that should not be debated while a police investigation is still ongoing.

"This motion being brought forward does little to convince the public that we are a functional council," Signoretti said. 

But Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger said Tuesday's motion was unrelated to the police investigation regarding allegations Vagnini had threatened Leduc.

No referendum on the KED

During Tuesday's council meeting Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier also proposed a motion to include a ballot question as to whether or not the city should move forward with the Kingsway Entertainment District (KED) project.

But Mayor Bigger said council had already voted in favour of the project and was committed to move forward.

"This project has long been approved by council and the previous council, " Bigger said. "A majority of council has repeatedly advanced this project."

Councillors did not vote on Montpellier's motion to hold a referendum on the KED on procedural grounds.

Bigger had determined the motion was a "reconsideration" of council's previous decisions to support the project. Councillors voted in favour of that view.

Because Montpellier's motion was a reconsideration, he needed at least one councillor who had previously voted in favour of the KED to reconsider their decision and support his motion. None of those eight councillors opted to move his motion forward. 

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