And when Ward 6 Coun. Andre Rivest refused to stop talking Tuesday night at city council, Matichuk asked that his microphone be turned off. The two clashed again at the end of the meeting, when Rivest accused the mayor of snubbing him at a recent public event.
The incident follows a clash with Ward 2 Coun. Jacques Barbeau at the audit committee in August, in which Barbeau publicly questioned Matichuk's motives in pushing for an audit of Greater Sudbury Utilities. She told Barbeau that city bylaws prohibit such personal attacks and demanded the comment be withdrawn.
On Tuesday, Rivest demanded the mayor apologize for saying she had knowledge of a meeting some members council held before the Feb. 12 city council meeting where Ombudsman André Marin was fired as the city's closed-door meeting investigator.
Rivest and other councillors have said there was no such meeting, and Rivest pointed out that a report by the city's new investigator exonerated them.
“People have got to know, that when you said there was a pre-meeting – there was not a pre-meeting,” Rivest said. “As deputy mayor, I'm expecting you to provide an apology ...”
“Coun. Rivest, I am going to ask you to stop, right now,” Matichuk interjected. “I am going to ask you to stop because you are personally attacking me.
“I am saying enough,” as she pounded the table. “That is enough.”
The bizarre encounter was the result of an equally bizarre set of circumstances in which the firm hired to replace the city's former private meetings investigator was tasked with investigating whether there was an improper private meeting held to discuss firing the previous investigator.
Matichuk, a strong supporter of Marin, said she won't accept the results of investigations conducted by Amberley Gavel, the firm now contracted to carry out such investigations.
“If you look at that report, I could poke Swiss cheese holes in it,” she told reporters after the meeting. “According to Mr. Marin, that was a closed meeting.”
In fact, she says the province should pass legislation forcing municipalities to automatically appoint the ombudsman, to end these sorts of disputes. Unlike Marin's three-person investigation team, Amberley Gavel sent one clerk, she said.
She also wasn't asked to promise to tell the truth, or to not discuss her statements with anyone else on council.
“This was loosey-goosey — one person, and it was a clerk that was the investigator,” she said.
However, she's not going to keeping fighting about it at city council, and will instead focus on more positive issues, Matichuk said.
“I'm going to leave it and let it do what it needs to do in the community,” she said. “And I can tell you anyone I've talked to in the community is not happy.”
“I guess she didn't want to deal with the facts,” Rivest said when asked about the mayor's response.
He said the report showed no improper meeting took place before the vote to fire Marin was held. That's why the mayor should apologize for alleging councillors did something wrong, he said.
“As deputy mayor, council should have a least a retraction of that comment,” he said. “We didn't lie at all.”
And he dismisses Marin's assertion that the evidence shows there was an illegal meeting. The ombudsman won't like any conclusions that don't agree with his point of view, he said.
“I think Mr. Marin is in conflict in this situation because he was the issue we were investigating,” Rivest said.