Elliot Lake council was put into a bit of a quandary at this week’s meeting with Councillor Ed Pearce asking the municipality to pay the legal fees he won legally against the city’s former Integrity Commissioner, E4m, the legal firm out of Sault Ste. Marie.
Although the council was sympathetic, the council had no choice but to turn down Pearce’s request for the funding since the taxpayer should not be responsible for the $16,000 awarded to him by the court.
Pearce had been found guilty of a breach of the Municipal Act, apologized, and was let off with a light reprimand, but E4M appealed that decision.
E4M lost that appeal but has still not paid Pearce any of the fees.
Mayor Dan Marchisella says he does not understand the legal process of why an Integrity Commissioner regime of any sort would be able to maneuver like this in order to not only gouge the taxpayer but financially burden a member of the council who makes next to nothing monthly.
He feels the appeal by E4M was a ploy for the firm to make a name for itself at the expense of Councillor Pearce and the taxpayers of Elliot Lake.
Other members of the council did not want to set a precedent but also recognized they were not in a legal position to assist Pearce since the legal matter lies between him, E4m, and the court.
In a three to two vote, the council voted not to pay any of the legal fees.