Mayor reimbursed for lost wages

Norfolk Mayor Kristal Chopp will not be out-of-pocket for her recent entanglement with Norfolk’s integrity commissioner.Tuesday, Norfolk council reimbursed Chopp for the financial penalty Toronto lawyer John Mascarin imposed earlier this month.This follows on the heels of a resolution June 11 where council accepted Chopp’s apology on Facebook for tearing up a planning report she was disappointed with Jan. 8.Mascarin and council agreed the mayor’s actions were indecorous. Mascarin recommended – and council agreed – that Chopp should apologize.In a follow-up report June 8, Mascarin said Chopp’s Facebook post May 31 did not meet his test of a sincere apology. As Norfolk’s integrity commissioner with the power to sanction, Mascarin docked Chopp 10-days pay, or about $3,000.Council disagreed and accepted Chopp’s mea culpa at the June 11 meeting.Council wasn’t sure this also made the mayor whole financially. In the intervening week, the answer turned out to be no, prompting Charlottesville Coun. Chris Van Paassen to table Tuesday’s motion.Van Paassen told council that omitting reimbursement June 11 was an oversight on his part for which he apologizes.“I wasn’t aware I was making an error,” he said.When Van Paassen tabled his motion under other business Tuesday,  Chopp declared a financial interest and vacated the council chamber.The other shoe to drop from this episode is a report detailing council’s options regarding its relationship with the integrity commissioner.The new council was unaware that the previous council had given the integrity commissioner extraordinary powers to pass judgment and impose sanctions.Last week, Norfolk’s interim CAO Harry Schlange said this is unusual, adding most municipalities control the discipline process each step of the way.Norfolk council prefers this option and has asked clerk Andy Grozelle to prepare a report, with recommendations, to that end. Grozelle will present his findings to council June 25.MSonnenberg@postmedia.com read more