Four Adjala-Tosorontio councillors say they won’t attend council meetings after mayor files libel suit
Adjala-Tosorontio Ward 1 Coun. Annette Bays is abstaining from future meetings.
From the Toronto Star, April 14, 2022
There’s a stalemate at Adjala-Tosorontio council after Mayor Floyd Pinto filed a libel suit against four councillors.
Councillors Annette Bays, Jonathan Pita, Deborah Hall-Chancey and Scott Anderson gave notice in an April 13 news release that they won’t attend future council meetings, except to pass the 2022 budget, after being served a libel notice April 7.
“The notice of libel claims defamatory words used by members of council at the March 9 council meeting, where Mayor Pinto was censured in a 5-2 recorded vote of council,” the news release states. “Councillors are troubled and shocked with the course of action by Mayor Pinto, personally naming the four councillors in the legal notice.”
They stated they will attend budget meetings so as to “not affect the services of the township,” but would not be present otherwise until the threat of legal action has been removed.
The decision means there’s not enough remaining members for quorum at future meetings.
“Understandably, the delay of council proceedings is not ideal, however, the councillor’s rights need to be respected to promote a healthy and productive environment,” the news release said.
The councillors are also asking Pinto to not attend future meetings himself or to step down from his position.
Bays was asked what the decision means for constituents, but she said she was “unable to comment further at this time.”
The libel suit follows the decision to censure Pinto after he was criticized for making Facebook comments.
“Council held an open and transparent debate at the council meeting to censure the mayor,” the news release said.
When contacted by Simcoe.com, Pinto said he is aware of the councillors abstaining from meetings and said he wanted to convey that he, not the township, is paying the bill for the legal proceedings against the councillors.
“The residents should not be made to suffer for demands that were made during the censure,” Pinto said, reflecting on that process. “If (councillors) are making allegations, there should be evidence provided. I feel every person has the right, if allegations are being made, there should be evidence so the person can defend the allegations.”
Pinto declined to comment further on the libel suit.
Read the article here