Windsor city councillor Rino Bortolin on May 7, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.Windsor city councillor Rino Bortolin on May 7, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Sanctions Handed Down For Bortolin

A Windsor city councillor is paying the price for controversial comments.

During Monday's night's meeting, council voted 7-1 to reprimand Ward 3 Councillor Rino Bortolin, and to have him make a public apology during a meeting at a later date. Council came to the decision after recommendations were handed down in a report from the city's integrity commissioner.

Bortolin, who recused himself from the debate and watched much of it from the chamber's gallery, was referred to the integrity commissioner for criticizing a ruling council made that he felt slighted his ward.

According to the October 18, 2017 edition of the Windsor Star, Bortolin shot back at council’s decision to fund the Bright Lights Windsor project by calling attention to a sexual assault in his ward that never took place.

“When I have to continually go back to residents and say there is no money for a $3,000 alley light where that person got beat up and raped last week, it’s hard,” Bortolin is quoted in the Star.

Windsor police later indicated that they received no such report.

Integrity Commissioner Bruce Elman told council on Monday that Bortolin's conduct violated several rules within council's Code of Conduct.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens holds up a copy of council's Code of Conduct during the meeting on May 7, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Ward 6 Councillor Jo-Anne Gignac, who sponsored the original motion against Bortolin, mentioned that she and other council members received angry correspondence from residents.

Elman acknowledges that the issue has brought out strong opinions for and against Bortolin.

"There are people who are not happy with the report, but I take it that that's pretty minor," says Elman. "I'm not concerned about it, let's put it that way."

For his part, Bortolin says he respects and accepts the report's recommendation. He says listening to the criticism from his council colleagues was tough, but he says he will never back down from fighting for his constituents.

"I'm here listening to councillors and the mayor speaks about caring about investors from Cairo, California, and Copenhagen," says Bortolin. "You know what? I care about the people on Caron, Karl, the streets of downtown and the alleys that abut those streets."

Bortolin, who is also the Liberal candidate for the Ontario legislature in Windsor West, says he will likely make his apology at council's next meeting, which will take place in June at the new Windsor City Hall.

City of Windsor integrity commissioner Bruce Elman speaks to City Council on May 7, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

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