On March 24th Richmond Hill Council concluded that as long as it's done in good faith and without malice, trespassing and abuse of power is okay.
Joe Dipaola, Carmine Perrelli, Greg Beros and Castro Lui voted for no reprimand although it was recommended by the Integrity Commissioner.
Councillor Muench was caught on camera as he walked into a resident’s property without permission and confronted two air conditioning contractors. Muench has been found guilty of breaching Richmond Hill’s code of conduct on different occasions. Read the story in the Liberal here
The IC concluded that although the Respondent’s (Muench) actions were done in good faith and without malice, we determine that the Respondent has violated subsection 4.3(f) (use the influence of their office) of the Code.
The report recommends that Council impose a reprimand on the Respondent for the breach of the Code on August 6, 2020.
A reprimand is recommended by the IC however it is up to Council at the March 24th meeting to provide a direction on the implementation of a reprimand.
The Respondent (Muench) has advised that he entered 67 Bedford Park Avenue to investigate a security concern raised by a neighbour. Although the Respondent was acting in good faith, we find that in doing so he exceeded the scope of his powers as a municipal councillor and used the influence of his office for a purpose other than the lawful exercise of his official duties for municipal purposes.
The investigation of potential criminal activity is the jurisdiction of the police, and this is particularly the case where entry into private property is involved. In this situation, the Respondent could have walked over to 67 Bedford Park Avenue and talked to the contractors as they were going back and forth to the van. Or, he could have notified the police. What he should not have done is enter the private property of one constituent at the request of another constituent to determine whether criminal activity was taking place.
The Respondent entered private property without the permission of the homeowner. He remained in the property in the face of repeated statements by the contractors working there that he was trespassing and did not have permission to be in the premises.
As noted above, even a police officer or municipal law enforcement officer would not be have been able to enter the Complainant’s property in these circumstances. It is not the Respondent’s role to investigate potential criminal activity, enforce a municipal by-law or conduct property inspections.
Public Comments: The public may submit written correspondence regarding agenda matters by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written correspondence must be submitted by 12 p.m. March 23rd.
Electronic Delegations: The public may apply to appear as an electronic delegation by video conference or by telephone. Applications to appear as an electronic delegation must be submitted by 12 p.m. March 23rd by email to email@example.com or by using the on-line application form. The Office of the Clerk will provide instructions on appearing as an electronic delegation.