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Opening comments:  More at the end.

    Well I hear that Mike Funston is moving up in the world and that Jessica Leeder will be taking over his beat - all the best of luck to you Mike & please stay till the end of the election.

    If Eve Adams has not caught on by now - her election hopes have been stabbed in the heart.  Maybe Gyles can help her find a new job.

    The City still shows no desire to collect money from Eve Adams for misuse of City "resources, including employee staff time and computer systems", why not?  Would that leave the other Councillors open to the same?

"Use of city resources gives a candidate an unfair advantage over rivals, she suggested. (This is the first such violation uncovered in the past three elections.) "

Toronto Star - Oct. 25, 2006 - Mike Funston & Jessica Leeder, Staff Reporters.

Mississauga councillor broke rules

Councillor Eve Adams violated the city's conflict-of-interest policy by ordering two employees to work on her re-election campaign, an internal investigation at Mississauga City Hall has concluded.

Adams, who is running in Ward 5, also put up election signs before the date allowed under city bylaws and on properties without getting the permission of homeowners, according to Mayor Hazel McCallion.

Adams has denied the allegations, saying she was not asked to take part in the investigation.

The denial drew the ire of McCallion, who yesterday released city manager Janice Baker's findings and memos from an employee alleging that Adams had ordered her to lie to her superiors to cover up what had happened.

"By denying it, (Adams is) calling the city manager a liar and her staff liars.  It's really bad," McCallion said, citing "a file half-an-inch thick of emails from her, directing staff."

Although the investigation uncovered breaches of city policy including widespread use of resources, including employee staff time and computer systems Adams did not violate any legislation, and there is no official sanction the city can apply, said McCallion.

Baker began the probe about three weeks ago, after the mayor's office forwarded a complaint based on allegations from employees in Adams' office.

The city's investigation reviewed 70 internal emails sent or received by Adams' staff during work hours in August or September that were "clearly connected to the election campaign," Baker wrote.

"The emails ... related to activities such as the arrangement for making and placement of signs, organizing volunteers and schedules for canvassing door-to-door and the solicitation of donations," it said.

Both employees, executive assistant Danielle Edwards and administrative assistant Diane Ferris, told Baker that Adams had directed them to work on her campaign.

"They advised they did not feel in any way that their time was being provided voluntarily," and that the demands on their time were negatively affecting their family life, Baker wrote.

They have since been moved to other duties, at their request.

The allegations caught Adams by surprise and are "simply untrue," she said yesterday.

"When I met with the mayor three weeks ago to discuss the issue, I related to her the steps I had taken to ensure the staff ... complied with the city's guidelines."

When Adams asked whether she should prepare a memo outlining the steps she had taken, she was told the matter was closed, Adams said.

"I remain focused on taking the high road and on building Mississauga successfully."

The lack of a penalty for violating the conflict-of-interest policy shouldn't deter city staffers from obeying it, Baker said.  Use of city resources gives a candidate an unfair advantage over rivals, she suggested.
(This is the first such violation uncovered in the past three elections.)

Adams will not be charged under the city's election-sign law because it is too vaguely worded, an official said.

McCallion said the province needs to update the Municipal Elections Act, which mainly governs campaign finance rules.

"Our hands are tied when it comes to the elections act and the way in which elected people are dealt with," she said, adding: "We can't stop her from running."

In her memo of complaint, Edwards claims she heard Adams instruct an unnamed relative to threaten residents with bylaw infractions if they were hesitant about taking a campaign sign.

"She actually stated that if they had a basement apartment or extra wide driveway to say, `It would be a terrible shame if the city ... decided to crack down on illegal basement apartments,' or `... if a bylaw officer was made aware of the extra wide driveway.'"

Edwards also alleged that Adams told her to bill the city for mileage expenses she incurred working on the campaign.

Baker said that in a later conversation the councillor claimed she had only told her employees to do campaign work on their own time, but Adams couldn't produce any emails or other evidence to back that up.

Edwards' memo states Adams issued no such instruction.

"She, however, stated to us on numerous occasions what our priorities were, and that they were her campaign first and foremost.  We worked tirelessly to ensure that none of our daily responsibilities were jeopardized in addition to working full-time on her campaign."

She said her job was to solicit volunteers and schedule them to canvass the ward for sign placements.  She was also to call local businesses for donations.

"I was expected to also canvass several times weekly during corporate time as well as evenings.  I would frequently meet Peter and Eve Adams at pre-assigned locations where I would then get into their vehicle to be dropped off at a location to begin canvassing.  As she didn't want residents to know my name as they may connect me to being a city employee, the councillor instructed me to use a false name ... at a constituent's door," Edwards wrote in her complaint.

When she expressed concern about working on the campaign, Edwards writes, Adams replied: "Let me clarify something for you.  I hired you and I'm the one who can fire you."

Ferris's role was to keep the election sign and voters' database up to date, and she had to make several trips a day to the councillor's home to exchange information, Edwards stated.

"This is a difficult time for the two staff at the centre of this issue and I want to commend them for their courage," Baker said of the employees.  "They have been co-operative and forthright with me in the discussions we have had to date."

Adams has held the Malton-area seat since 2003, when she defeated incumbent Cliff Gyles, who had been convicted of corruption for taking bribes.

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