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October 14
21:42 2018
REPORTER: News Staff, -

An otherwise ordinary business day at City Hall turned irregular on Tuesday, particularly because in this tight economic reality, hardly anyone is gifting thick wads of cash. That was what happened, however, when a business meeting ended and the businesswoman reportedly left an envelope on the desk of the City Administrator, Stephanie Garbutt, loaded with $50 bills, then left in a hurry.

A letter from Mayor Bernard Wagner to the citizen the same day, informed her that Garbutt reported to him what had happened and that when she realised it was cash, she called the person right away and insisted that she return for it, but that the woman refused. The letter continued to say that the same woman had tried to leave a “gift” for Garbutt previously.

“While we can appreciate ‘gift’ offerings being connected with various cultures, we are compelled to return. As stewards of the public trust, we are sensitive to any public perceptions that may result from anyone associated or in our employment accepting a gift. That concern motivates a policy that prohibits our acceptance of gifts or similar gestures,” Mayor Wagner’s letter stated.

The letter goes on to inform the businesswoman that the Council sent the money back to her address via a courier, but not before recording each of the notes’ serial numbers, and ended by warning that if the practice continues, the Council will have to cease conducting business with that businesswoman.

This evening, Deputy Mayor Oscar Arnold made a brief statement on the occurrence, to allay any perception that the Council or its employees are involved in untoward practices of expecting or accepting “gifts”, especially since the Council does not have any issues with the business that the company has been providing. In fact, Arnold said there are strict policies being laid out at the Council which has to do with the order of business.

“The gift that was left behind was in excess of what could be accepted. …We wanted to also reiterate to residents and businesses, if at any time you are requested by employees of the Council that you have to provide gifts for any services that you’re already paying for at the Council, that this be reported as well because this is a serious breach of our gifting policy here,” Arnold advised.

Arnold said that the company has been doing business with City Hall before this Council was elected into office.


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