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Councillor demands town provide update on case against her peer

Carole McGinn says the town's delay in settling the case against Bill Gordon is keeping him from performing his duties to the fullest
Coun. Bill Gordon pictured at a council meeting before the pandemic. File photo.

Coun. Carole McGinn wants to know why the town hasn't yet signed the settlement offered to Coun. Bill Gordon.

"The position that he's in prevents him from openly performing the duties of a councillor," she said in an interview with MidlandToday. "There's a settlement offered and until they sign it or do whatever that ends the process, he can't do his duties fully."

When asked why not, McGinn said this prevents Gordon from commenting on any policing matters or anything related to the settlement.

"It prevents him from being included in almost all and in any things that come forward with regards to that," she said, adding that's why she wants to know where the matter really stands. "It's gotten to this point and when is it over the hump?"

The case she is referring to was brought against Gordon when he wasn't on council yet, explained Amanpreet Sidhu, the town solicitor.

"The May 2019 agreement between the Town and the OPP included a provision that Mr. Gordon would provide the encryption codes to the OPP," he wrote in an email. "The OPP would thereafter decrypt the servers/files legally belonging to and owned by the MPS (Midland Police Services) Board/ Town as an independent third party and provide the necessary files to the Town Administration/ MPS Board. This was not acceptable to Mr. Gordon.

"However, in March 2020, Mr. Gordon accepted a direct agreement with the town/MPS Board pursuant to which he has provided the encryption codes to the Town & MPS Board’s external legal counsel," it continued. "The legal matter with respect to providing the encryption codes by Mr. Gordon to the Town & MPS Board’s external legal counsel has been resolved to that extent. The signing of the minutes of settlement is a procedural matter and will be concluded in the coming days."

In response to a previous inquiry, Sidhu wrote back clarifying that Gordon wasn't an elected official at the time the case was brought against him.

"I did want to ensure one important fact is represented accurately for the sake clarity with our residents," he wrote. "The subject line of your email states 'Comment on Coun. Bill Gordon's case,' in reality, the legal matter deals with the encryption of the electronic records of the MPS by a former employee without colour of authority. William (Bill) Gordon was a junior level, civilian IT employee of the MPS.

"As per Town records, he was not a designated special constable at the time of the disbandment," he goes on. "However, at the time of the disbandment of the MPS in 2018, this employee chose to encrypt the records of the MPS against the express instructions of the MPS Board. Further, in May 2019, this former employee single-handedly thwarted an agreement between the OPP and the Town of Midland that would have led to a successful decryption. I feel that it is very important to make the distinction between a Town Councillor and a former employee of the MPS. This case has nothing to do with the position of town councillor and deals with the conduct of a former employee who chose to disregard express instructions of the employer."

However, McGinn said she feels the situation as it has been carried forward now makes it difficult for other councillors, too.

"I assume it does," she said. "I can imagine that sort of stressor. When you get to the point of settlement, there's closure and relief and you can move forward. But it doesn't seem like the corporation really can and it prevents Bill from doing that (too)."

McGinn said another reasons she's asking questions is that she like matters wrapped up in a timely manner.

"There's going to be a delay for legitimate reasons and I'd like to know what the reasons are," she said. "Where is the town in the process?"