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Mayor explains what he did and did not do with Ross Romano's phone

We are assured this was all quite innocent

Some of you asked in the comments what the mayor was up to with a city councillor's phone in the minutes after Monday night's council meeting, and we now have an answer.

And we are assured it was all quite innocent.

In the final minutes of SooToday's live council coverage, which as some of you noticed kept recording after Monday's meeting, Mayor Christian Provenzano can be seen picking up Ward 6 Coun. Ross Romano's phone and appearing to look at it.

Romano, who is the Progressive Conservative candidate in a yet-to-be-called provincial byelection to replace former MPP David Orazietti, is out of the room at the time.

Some of you have commented, asking what was up with that.

Provenzano tells SooToday he was only picking the phone up to return it to Romano, who had left the room.

Romano left his seat shortly before the end of Monday’s meeting and had taken his briefcase with him, said Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Shoemaker.

“Once the meeting concluded, I told the mayor that Councillor Romano left his phone and asked if he would grab it for him,” said Shoemaker, who is a potential Liberal byelection candidate.

Provenzano tells SooToday he did not read anything on the phone, and apologized to Romano if he did anything, even unintentionally, that bothered or offended him.

In a text message to SooToday, Romano said his phone is password protected and he has spoken to the mayor about the incident.

“I believe (the mayor) was taking my phone to return it to me,” wrote Romano.

“As I was leaving the chamber, Ross came back so I was mistaken in advising the mayor to grab his stuff,” said Shoemaker.

Editor's Note: The portion of the livestream replay that recorded the phone incident was briefly trimmed, but has been restored. SooToday normally trims portions of the livestream recorded after the meeting concludes and that can take some time to take effect. In this instance, we have restored that part of the video.