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Mayor wants all councillors to get anti-harassment training

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Troy Shantz

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley is calling for all members of the new city council to take mandatory workplace harassment training.

The mayor, the only member of the previous council who did not take similar, non-mandatory training in 2015, wants the sessions led by an external trainer and completed no later than March 1.

“I’m being proactive. Mistakes were made, lessons were learned,” said Bradley, who was sanctioned by the previous council for harassing and bullying senior staff.

A new slate of councillors was sworn in at the inaugural meeting on Dec. 3 and the seats in council chambers assigned.

Councillors Terry Burrell, George Vandenberg, Brian White and Bill Dennis will sit to Bradley’s left, while Dave Boushy, Nathan Colquhoun, Margaret Bird and Mike Stark are to his right.

In front of a standing room only crowd, Bradley reaffirmed his faith in the city, reiterated the need to make City Hall more accessible to the public, and questioned the city’s Code of Conduct.

In an interview later, the mayor said amendments to the Code passed by the previous council in 2016 on the recommendation of senior staff stifle free speech.

“The way this Code of Conduct has been operating in Sarnia it goes to the legal process, without mediation, without any consideration of the damage it does to the council,” said Bradley, who pushed for the Code and an Integrity Commissioner only to run afoul of them.

“I think it’s been restrictive … it takes away the political over the staff role, but it also just limits the right to speak.”

The inaugural meeting featured Aamjiwnaang Chief Chris Plain as the Master of Ceremonies and included an Anishinaabe performance of “Oh Canada” sung by children from Aamjiwnaang’s Early Years Centre.

In closing, Bradley referred the talking stick, an indigenous tradition in which the holder of the stick has the floor while others must listen.

“You need to listen, digest, and then make a decision that’s best for Sarnia,” he told the new and returning councillors.

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