Letters: week of Oct. 11

 

Candidate offers legal perspective on Bradley harassment report

Sir: I’m writing this letter to dispel any misconceptions arising from the workplace harassment investigations in 2016 and the corresponding response from council.

As taxpayers, we should be cautious of any candidate who attempts to diminish or downplay the severity of the offences while promising to revert things “back to the way they were.”

As a candidate and lawyer, I am fluent in the findings of the two independent investigative reports that conclusively substantiated and corroborated the multiple victim accounts – Mike Bradley didn’t deny the allegations, but actually publicly admitted to them.

These were not isolated incidents. From page 43 of the Workplace Investigation: “Mayor Bradley engaged in almost all of the different forms of harassment listed above, including verbal abuse, psychological abuse, supervisory abuse, relational aggression and character assassination.”

Council’s response was commensurate with the severity of the violations.

The only actual “sanctions” against the mayor was loss of three months pay and a requirement to take sensitivity and anger management courses. To date, I believe the course requirements are still outstanding.

All other decisions were necessary to bring Sarnia into compliance regarding the division of the political and administrative wings of government. Council acted in accordance with provincial legislation to ensure a safe working environment, and to mitigate any legal liability or financial risk on behalf of the corporation.

If the new council takes any steps to reverse the protective measures of council, it would directly result in astronomical liability implications. As taxpayers, it is essential that we understand the risks associated with future steps taken by our new council. The electorate cannot just decide to discard the statutory measures required.

The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour: the workplace incidents are indicative of a pattern of behaviour that has persisted in silence for decades.

Sarnia is a small city and people talk. I would urge people to speak up and share your personal experiences and perspectives among your circle of friends and family, so that harassment isn’t rewarded on Election Day because of continued silence. Sarnia can’t afford to take steps backward.


Joseph T. Santoro
Sarnia

 


 

Sign bylaw enforcement

Sir: Whatever happened to discretion?

I’m referring to the ambitious removal of Sarnia council candidate lawn signs. I’ve heard of over 100 of late.

My friend and fellow candidate Marie Timperley has had five visits from the sign bylaw employees, who first of all told her that her sign was too wide, as she had mounted it on a frame that overall exceeded regulations by six inches.

She altered it three times and finally had it hung from a frame. She said she felt “undue harassment.”

Of course, the city is always “right.” But to worry about six inches on an election sign on her property, that’ll only be there for a few weeks?

Have they never heard of discretion? I see it as them trying to thwart democracy.

Perhaps that’s why so many people are calling for a “clean out” of the City Hall crowd.

Well, situations like the one above are what upset people, and a clean out may well occur.

John Parker
Sarnia

 


 

Bradley has failed as mayor, so liking the guy isn’t enough

Sir: I like Mike Bradley and have voted for him. I don’t know him well but, like most of you, have met him. That’s not unusual when someone is the mayor for 30 years. However, I can’t vote for him again and it’s not about the last four years… it’s about the last 30.

It was common knowledge decades ago that Mike would be the mayor for years, perhaps for as long as he wished. That’s a rare luxury among politicians and it affords them the opportunity to pursue a grand vision of the city they love. So… where is it?

Many positive changes have happened more in spite of the mayor’s presence than because of it – the revitalization of the downtown comes to mind. I’m in awe when I take my kids to the parks and arenas in other towns and cities, and marvel at what we could have here in Sarnia, but don’t.

We live in a beautiful region but he’s stood in the way of many who have sought to promote it. I see bright entrepreneurs and ideas in our city, but I also see a growing despair, a dwindling population, and missed opportunities.

Many people are determined to re-elect Mike and I understand why. He’ll return your phone call. You’ve met him personally. He’s been trying to pay down the city’s debt, which I agree is very important.

However, I hope voters will ask themselves two simple questions. What great vision has he brought to this city after having 30 years to do so, and what vision is he bringing for the next four?

I’ve only met Anne Marie Gillis once, and it was at one of the outstanding ‘All-Candidates Fairs’ (thanks to Caleb MacKinnon for organizing those). She’s experienced, she has a clear plan for what she wants to accomplish, and she has a vision for the future of Sarnia.

I choose to believe that Sarnia has a great future. Anne Marie Gillis deserves my vote, and she’s going to get it. And I’m sure she’ll return our phone calls too.

Mark Moran
Bright’s Grove

 


 

Bradley probably had reason to get frustrated at City Hall

Sir: I believe we all face our moments of frustration. Mayor Mike Bradley is no different, and probably more than we normally do, as he faces councillors who wish to bury him and not work with him.

From Coun. Matt Mitro to Coun. Anne Marie Gillis to City Hall administrators. My dealing with Mayor Bradley on city issues has always been possible. He helps the citizens.

On the other hand, I fear that voting for Ms. Gillis will be a disaster since she was a protégé of former Premier Kathleen Wynn. We all know what this Premier did to the citizens of Ontario and we may face the same with Ms. Gillis.

Do we want to see history repeated? Please vote for Mayor Bradley for the future of Sarnia.

Randy Dennie
Sarnia

 


 

Vote for Mike Bradley and dump the ‘Fab Five’ councillors

Sir: There are many newcomers in the upcoming election. Voters should make sure the Fab Five do not get back in.

Taxpayers should remember the big overruns at Centennial Park, with missed target dates and unfinished projects. Same story with the boat ramp.

I always thought when you write a contract in business you stick with it. We don’t need any more taxpayers’ money wasted.

When a group of people are not on the same page and don’t pull on the same string, this is what happens!

We have a great mayor who did a wonderful job for our city for 30 years and has to be voted back in. The other candidate wants that job so bad she trashes our mayor every chance she gets, putting him down to elevate herself.

But people see through this in a minute.

On the new voting concept, it is most confusing. Many seniors don’t own a computer or cell phone and like the paper ballots they are used to. I believe with electronic voting there will be a lot of manipulation of the outcome.

Whatever you do, please vote. This will be your contribution to the next four years. We sure need accountability.

Gisela Malik
Sarnia

 


 

Seniors shouldn’t let technology prevent them from voting

Sir: With the new electronic voting system, with little provided education, manpower, warning or advertising, city council seems to have inadvertently tried to discourage senior voters from participating in this municipal election.

It has been suggested there was an agenda on the past of some councillors. This is truly an insult to all of us. As a senior, I will definitely be casting my vote.

I am fortunate enough to have a fair bit of experience with modern technology, as do most of my friends. However, there are many seniors who do not have the advantage of iPads, iPhones, computers and the education required to operate these systems. Modern telephones can even be confusing.

To those seniors I say, you must find a way to vote. It is your duty and your right to have your voice heard without frustration and confusion.

Ask children, grandchildren, other family members, caregivers and neighbours you trust to give you a hand. As long as you have a Voters Card and identification, you can use anyone’s device to cast your vote.

Those who don’t have a card yet should call 1-877-472-7642. There are also times and locations municipal employees have designated to offer assistance.

To the younger crowd, make our day and give us a helping hand. Everyone’s vote is a vote for democracy, no matter what age you are.

Alma Brown
Sarnia

 


 

Read the harassment reports on Bradley before casting ballot

Sir: If people are thinking of voting for Mike Bradley, please read the integrity commissioner’s reports at:

https://bit.ly/sarniaintegrity and see the short video about the process at: https://vimeo.com/190568546.

The video was done soon after the investigation by the investigation lawyer. It explains how council was legally bound to investigate the harassment charges against its employees. (Note: city staff do not report to the mayor. The only employee who does is the CEO and all other staff report to the CEO.)

There is a lot of reading on the City’s website. It is all in PDF format and the reports can be downloaded to read.

I hope anyone with doubts about the mayor’s behaviour, and how inappropriate it would be for him to be re-elected, will be convinced by the enquiry documents.

Dick Carpani
Sarnia

 


 

Bradley’s agenda signals more conflict at City Hall

Sir: I read with concern your Sept. 20 article about the debate between Mayor Mike Bradley and candidate Anne Marie Gillis. I say “with concern” because it sounds like the mayor, if re-elected, will take on the city’s administrators whom he says are “running the city” with “bad management” which he says is “an embarrassment.”

He wants to “reset” the future and “take back City Hall.” But to do so, the mayor says he needs a “co-operative council.”

So it appears he is willing to fight with anyone who disagrees with the way he thinks the city should be run. If he’s re-elected it looks like more work for the Integrity Commissioner!

Peter Westfall
Sarnia

 


 

A voter checklist to help choose city council candidates

Sir: I agree with Coun. Mike Kelch’s checklist (Oct. 4 issue) for the kind of candidate he would vote for on city council.

I would add the following criteria I will use in making my selection. The candidate must:

* Already be significantly involved in the community and thus be qualified to represent it.

* Have achieved solid success in their field and be able to speak authoritatively in this area.

* Bring knowledge to the table that would be of benefit to the successful operation of the City.

* Be at least as accomplished as the city staff director who shares his or her area of expertise.

* Have a strong, constructive, questioning attitude.

* Be articulate and a good verbal communicator.

* Be able to quickly assimilate and discuss information generated at meetings.

Fortunately, there are a sufficient number of candidates who meet most of these criteria. Above and beyond that, the council should have a good mix of councillors having different areas of expertise and who conduct themselves in the manners listed by Mike Kelch.

Saorgus Mc Ginley
Sarnia