Petition demands mayor pay for advertising leaflets

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An online petition calling on the mayor of Windsor to reimburse the city for promotional tax inserts featuring his image months before voters went to the polls could break election rules if he agrees.

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That’s according to the city administrator of data, elections and freedom of information, who told the Star on Thursday that campaign finances should be kept separate from spending outside the mayor’s office.

“It’s advertising,” Terry Knight Lepain said of the fliers recently sent out with the latest tax bills, which portray Mayor Drew Dilkens alongside a list of the city’s recent achievements, including investments in parks, playgrounds, roads and trails, as well as securing the $5 billion NextStar Energy Electric Vehicle Battery Plant. It has been seen by some as campaign material.

“The mayor has not submitted his candidacy to me at the town hall,” she said. “He has not filled out the legislative form, so at the moment he is not a candidate.”

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When asked if the mayor had broken election rules, Knight Lepain said, “No.”

By Thursday afternoon, more than 200 people had signed a change.org petition demanding that the mayor’s campaign reimburse the city for the cost of the tax bill if he ran for office. Jason Moore, the city’s senior communications manager, said the flyers cost $1,883.32 for printing. He said the postage is not an extra cost as it was included in the tax mailings.

While Knight Lepain said she couldn’t comment specifically on the petition, she said the cost of the insert would not be an eligible campaign cost.

The petition alleges that Dilkens improperly used taxpayers’ money to campaign for himself, something he denied earlier this week.

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While candidates must use campaign money to promote themselves, the petition accuses Dilkens of “circumventing” the rule because he has not yet run for office.

“He is doing this in the knowledge that if he runs, he will have a clear advantage in the election by using taxpayers’ money to promote himself,” said the petition, which was drafted by resident of TJ Bondy. windsor.

Dilkens told reporters on Monday that he is not campaigning and that the leaflets are not campaign advertisements.

β€œIt’s a way of communicating with the public. I don’t apologize for it,” he said.

Dilkens invited anyone who believed to be violating the council’s code of conduct to file a complaint with the integrity commissioner.

It is not known whether complaints have been lodged. The city’s integrity commissioner, Bruce Elman, did not respond to the Star’s multiple requests for comment this week. City marketing and communications officer Jill Braido said Thursday that Elman’s last day was as integrity commissioner and that a new integrity commissioner would take over Friday. Braido won’t say who Elman’s replacement is.

According to the complaints protocol of the municipality, after 30 June – Thursday – in a municipal election year, no complaint can be submitted to the integrity commissioner for review or investigation.

The deadline to nominate for the upcoming municipal elections is August 19. Election day is October 24.

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