Toronto District School Board trustees held a “special meeting” Tuesday.
It was called to vote on the recount requested by Scott Harrison in the Scarborough Centre ward, where incumbent David Smith beat him by only 139 votes in the Oct. 27 school board elections.
But the meeting attracted more attention than usual: this was the first one since Ward 8 school trustee Howard Goodman’s arrest earlier in the day.
Goodman was charged with one count of forcible confinement and one count of criminal harassment.
Trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher, who represents Beaches-East York Ward 16, told reporters the meeting had no bearing on regular school board business.
“We’re bureaucrats in an institution, we all have different jobs, different roles and we don’t always agree on everything,” she said.
Cary-Meagher was a witness to the events last fall involving Goodman and the TDSB Director of Education Donna Quan, which sparked the criminal probe.
She described being one of three people who saw what happened last January, which occurred during a heated discussion between Quan and Goodman inside a TDSB office.
“Well I was there… it isn’t an allegation. It’s a fact,” she said. “The charges are an event I witnessed, that I wrote up, that I sent to the ethics committee, and nothing was ever done.”
Goodman did not run for reelection in the fall, and is set to appear in court on Dec. 18.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years each. When asked about what the outcome should be, Cary-Meagher simply responded: “I’m not gonna go there.”
Goodman was not present at Tuesday’s meeting and has refused to comment personally. His lawyer, William Trudell, issued an email to the media.
It reads: “He has a great deal of respect for the criminal justice system and regrets that it is being misused for political purposes . . . He is innocent and will, of course, vigorously defend himself against these charges.”
Donna Quan, who was at Tuesday’s meeting, has refused to comment.
“The matter is before the courts, so it is not appropriate for me to offer any comment at all,” she said.