Investigation into Nickel over "bike lane" comments cost YEG taxpayers $100,000
Last winter, comments made by prospective mayoral candidate Mike Nickel over a bike lane receiving priority snow removal alongside other allegations of breaching the council's code of conduct led to an official investigation.
However, despite integrity commissioner Jamie Pytel's findings recommending a sanction against Nickel, the motion against the mayoral candidate was defeated with a 7-4 vote in favour of sanction. A two-thirds majority is needed in order to pass a motion to sanction.
"If I was given evidence, or anything by councilor Nickel, that would suggest the complaints were brought in bad faith I would investigate and review and make a finding on that," Pytel said while presenting her evidence ahead of the vote on whether to sanction Nickel.
"I have no information to lead me to that conclusion," she added.
Pytel states that four unnamed complainants reached out with concerns about Nickel misusing their contact information.
"I don't bring code violations to this council lightly or easily," she told council.
Councilor Caterina, one of four who voted against sanctioning Nickel, stated that bias against Nickel led him to vote in the negative.
"The struggle for me is still on the severity," said Caterina. "I don't think that it's been established that the intent was to misrepresent or misuse city assets."
"The biases are extremely obvious," he added, before reading a text from Ward 10 Coun. Michael Walters.
"'I'm so sick and tired of this m**********r. He should be hospitalized,'" quoted Caterina before being abruptly cut off by Iveson.
Nickel echoed Caterina's remarks, releasing a video with Jonathan Denis; the former MLA for Calgary-Acadia and legal representative for Nickel's personal conduct and use of emails obtained as a councilor for campaign purposes.
"Long has councilor Nickel spoken about bias in this chamber; one set of rules for his opponents, another set for him," Denis began. "Today, this has never been more evident. On June 24th, Councilor Walters called Nickel a "mother_____," which I will not repeat. Where are the complaints, the proposed sanctions? Where are the tweets about quorum and respect? Mr. Nickel has always been respectful in the chamber, but as soon as he questions where $100,000 in taxpayer money has went, code of conduct complaints are filed. This investigation is not about a code of conduct, but a political stunt to stop Mr. Nickel's mayoral campaign."
Nickel added his own comments to the mix: "Yes, Don Iveson filed a complaint against me," he wrote on Facebook. "Why? I asked Andrew Knack if he directed his staff to file complaints, over my bike lane comments! That "investigation" cost taxpayers over $100,000. 105 days to election. Let's clean up City Hall."