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Bradley intimidated city clerk, commissioner finds

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George Mathewson

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley has breached the city’s Code of Conduct again by disrespecting and intimidating City Clerk Dianne Gould-Brown at a Feb. 27 council meeting, the Integrity Commissioner has determined.

In a new report, Robert Swayze advised city council to dock the mayor’s pay for two weeks and warned he will recommend further sanctions if Bradley continues to make negative comments about municipal staff.

Mike Bradley
Mike Bradley

‘I find his intransigent and persistent behaviour towards the Clerk at the public Council meeting of February 27, 2016 (sic), as disrespectful of her professional capacity as an officer of the City of Sarnia …” Swayze wrote.

The commissioner’s findings and recommendations were scheduled to be dealt with at Monday’s council meeting.

Swayze dismissed two other complaints — that the mayor colluded with a ratepayer against the interests of the city and involved himself in a citizen’s Freedom of Information request.

At the Feb. 27 meeting, the mayor strongly objected to a decision by Gould-Brown not to add a letter from a citizen to council’s agenda. The clerk had instead determined the letter should be treated as a Freedom of Information request.

The commissioner said the clerk made the correct decision about the letter from citizen Margaret Bird, which sought an accounting of all expenses and costs incurred as a result of previous complaints against the mayor.

Bradley’s behaviour at the meeting, according to the commissioner, breached a section of the Code that states no council member shall “maliciously or falsely injure the professional or ethical reputation” of a staff member.

In June of 2016, council suspended the mayor’s pay for 90 days after Swayze found Bradley’s autocratic treatment of senior staff had created a “culture of fear” that led to the departure of two administrators.

And in October of that year a separate workplace investigation report concluded Bradley had harassed and bullied four senior managers, three of which left the city to work elsewhere.

As a result, council approved various measures that included limiting Bradley’s access to City Hall, installing surveillance cameras and erecting a wall to separate him from staff.

Sarnia council hired the integrity commission in 2015 at the urging of Mayor Bradley, who said at the time having him on retainer would be a preventative measure to keep inappropriate behaviour at bay.

Swayze is paid a $3,000 annual retainer plus $280 an hour whenever his services are required.









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