Skip to content

Email debate defused

An expected showdown between Mayor John Rowswell and Councillor Derik Brandt fizzled Monday night after Brandt withdrew his demand for a debate about the E-mail controversy.
Brandt

An expected showdown between Mayor John Rowswell and Councillor Derik Brandt fizzled Monday night after Brandt withdrew his demand for a debate about the E-mail controversy.

Later in the meeting, Rowswell acknowledged that he "was probably more to blame than anyone else" for the E-mail flap, and asked the people of Sault Ste. Marie to "give all of us here at City Hall a time to heal and a time to get organized."

Here's what Brandt (shown above) said as he withdrew his motion calling for a committee-of-the-whole debate over the exchange of E-mails between Rowswell and Joe Fratesi, the City's chief administrative officer:

"Every Saultite knows what you do after a storm. You pull out the shovel and clean up the mess. You don't always enjoy doing it, but if you don't you likely will not be going anywhere.

"That was the intent of Committee of the Whole tonight, to try to clean up the mess and get moving. Council has had discussions about the underlying problems before, just never in open.

"I didn't expect the discussion to be any different tonight, but I thought that it was time the discussion happened in open, that this might make a difference.

"Now, I think the public knows most of the most recent story, so I'm not sure that the discussion will be any more productive than in the past. Last week, Mr. Mayor, you wanted the resolution put off so I decided to do just that.

"This week, I think it is in the community's interest that I pull the resolution. I am withdrawing the resolution," Brandt said.

Mayor Rowswell then waited until the end of the meeting before issuing his statement.

"I appreciate the fact that we're not going to talk about it in full detail," he said, referring to Councillor Brandt's change of heart.

"I would like to ask the community to let us put it behind us," the mayor said, adding that it's time to "let the healing start" and to "start working on the right stuff" - economic growth.

"We know that we have some problems ... we are trying to work our way out of those problems."

Rowswell said that he has had a number of discussions with Joe Fratesi and also talked on Monday with Councillor Brandt.

"I have to work on a few things. I do push. That's my nature ... sometimes it gets me in trouble," he said.

"I pledge to try to do better," the mayor said.

To receive free, real-time updates of SooToday.com's exclusive coverage of local news, just send an Email with "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line to helwig@sootoday.com.