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Message from the Board Chair
Message from the Board Chair

CorrieMcbain-small.jpgJune 18, 2019

On June 17, 2019, the Board of Trustees held ​a special board meeting to consider the report from the Integrity Commissioner regarding a formal complaint against Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey.

After careful consideration and review of the Integrity Commissioner’s report, the Board has determined that Trustee Terrell-Tracey was in breach of the Code of Conduct. As such, the Board approved several appropriate and broad-ranging sanctions connected with the inappropriate conduct of Trustee Terrell-Tracey.

The Motions unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees related to this matter are as follows:


Motion RE: Breach of Trustee Code of Conduct

In accordance with the Complaint Protocol for the Trustee Code of Conduct dated November 28, 2017, and taking into consideration the findings and recommendations of the Integrity Commissioner outlined in Report 2, to York Region District School Board dated June 17, 2019, regarding the conduct of Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey, York Region District School Board finds that East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey has breached the following sections of the Trustee Code of Conduct for the reasons outlined in the foregoing report;

  • Section 4, Integrity and Dignity of Office, Clauses 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10,

  • Section 13, Discreditable Conduct,

  • Section 14, Failure to Adhere to the Board Policies, Procedures and Supporting Documents, and

  • Section 15, Reprisals and Obstruction.

Motions RE: Sanctions

In accordance with the Complaint Protocol for the Trustee Code of Conduct, the Education Act and taking into consideration the information contained in Report 2 from the Integrity Commissioner to York Region District School Board regarding the Conduct of Trustee Terrell-Tracey dated June 17, 2019, particularly;

  • the Integrity Commissioner’s assessment that “Trustee Terrell-Tracey’s cumulative actions blemish the Board and her inability to conduct herself in a professional manner does much to discredit and compromise the integrity and dignity of the collective Board” and “the Respondent is a Trustee who is unable or unwilling to serve the school communities, and the collective Board in a constructive, respectful, conscientious and diligent manner,”

  • the fact that Trustees, as elected officials, are unable to separate their individual selves from their duly elected office,

  • the Integrity Commissioner’s recommendation that the Board consider immediate restrictions on Trustee Terrell-Tracey’s York Region District School Board email during her remaining tenure as Trustee,

  • the Integrity Commissioner’s assessment that “the Respondent routinely violates her obligation to preserve confidentiality,” the identified pattern of breaching confidentiality and failure to uphold her public fiduciary duties to the collective Board and all stakeholders, and

  • the privilege of being a duly elected Trustee for York Region District School Board;

That  York Region District School Board impose the following sanctions:

  1. That the Chair of York Region District School Board make a formal, public statement censuring East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey for violating Sections 4 (Clauses 1, 3 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10), 13, 14 and 15 of the Trustee Code of Conduct by:

    • engaging in discreditable conduct by making inappropriate public comments that do not uphold the Integrity and Dignity of the Office of Trustee and that do not adhere to Board Policies, Procedures and Supporting Documents, and
    • obstructing an investigation of the Integrity Commissioner.
  2. T​hat Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey be immediately barred from attending the following meetings;
    • private and/or public Board, Advisory and Board Committee meetings until the end of June 2020, and

    • Student Discipline, Supervised Alternative Learning Review and Negotiations Advisory Committee meetings for the remainder of the 2018-2022 Term of Office.

  3. That, for the remainder of the 2018-2022 Term of Office;
    • East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey’s email communication access using York Region District School Board account immediately be restricted to individuals identified by the Director of Education and Board Chair,
    • a separate York Region District School Board email account be established, publicized and managed by staff, so that members of the East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville community are able to address concerns,
    • staff ensure that East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey is aware of matters impacting her community in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and
    • East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey will only be permitted to use the Trustee Newsletter Greetings as prepared by Corporate Communications without amendments.
  4. That East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey not attend any elementary and/or secondary graduations in her capacity as trustee until the end of June 2020.​

Motions RE: Additional Actions

That, in consideration of the content of the Integrity Commissioner’s Report dated June 17, 2019,  York Region District School Board approve the following recommendations:


  1. That East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey be ineligible to represent York Region District School Board on the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association and/or any government agency or outside organization seeking trustee membership from the Board for the remainder of the 2018-2022 Term of Office.

  2. That the following recommendations from the Integrity Commissioner Report dated June 17, 2019 be considered at the June 24, 2019 Chair’s Committee meeting:

    • that a definition of appropriate “communication vehicle,” and what constitutes an abuse of the same be created, and,

    • that the interpretation of responsible use of social media and email be clarified.

  3. That, in an effort to rebuild trust with the community, East Gwillimbury/Whitchurch-Stouffville Trustee Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey be encouraged to tender a written public apology to the community, expressing understanding of impact and regret for the disrespect conveyed in her Twitter post of May 11, 2019 as well as any additional Twitter, Facebook and email statements referenced by the Integrity Commissioner in Report 2, dated June 17, 2019.


In January of this year, the Board wrote to the Minister of Education and local Members of Provincial Parliament requesting that the Education Act be amended to include the same powers on an inquiry for alleged breaches of a trustee code of conduct as those in the Municipal Act. In addition, we requested school boards be provided with the right to suspend trustee honorariums as a sanction for breaching the code of conduct. To advocate for these changes, I will forward the motion from our June meeting and resend the original copy o​f our request​​ to the Ministerof Education and York Region members of Provincial Parliament.​

We believe that there are reasonable expectations that Trustees model behaviour that is appropriate and we would want to see in our students. Her actions are not reflective of the values of York Region District School Board and the Board of Trustees has taken action to sanction her for this behaviour. As referenced above in the sanctions imposed on June 17th, a separate censure of Trustee Terrell-Tracey will be created and made available publicly in the near future.  We will continue to focus on making decisions in the best interest of students and gaining public confidence in our system.

Sincerely,
 
Corrie McBain
Board Chair

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