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Outgoing integrity commissioner Swayze takes parting shot

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Journal Staff

Former Sarnia integrity commissioner did not go quietly.

On his final day in the job, Robert Swayze sent a letter to mayor and council criticizing the manner in which he lost the position and urging his replacement to be vigilant.

After being hired in 2015, Swayze oversaw a tumultuous four years in which he dealt with various Code of Conduct complaints and saw seven senior managers, including the CAO, leave City Hall.

Robert Swayze

“The City of Sarnia is now in crisis mode with the resignation of virtually all of its senior staff,” Swayze states in the letter, which was presented to council last week.

Swayze had also locked horns with Mayor Mike Bradley and recommended the previous council sanction him for harassing and bullying administrators.

In January, a staff report gave Swayze the highest technical score among four bidders on a new four-year contract. And his offer to do the job for $18,530 was by far the least expensive of the submissions.

But councillors rejected the staff report and Swayze, saying they wanted to see more proposals on the table and to broaden the scope of the bidding.

“I can only conclude that a majority of Council took this action to subvert the RFP process because I was the recommended proponent,” Swayze wrote.

New integrity commissioner Paul Watson was hired last month. Watson is now reviewing a new Code of Conduct complaint former councillor Matt Mitro has filed against Bradley and three councillors: Margaret Bird, Bill Dennis and David Boushy.

Swayze ended his letter by asking Watson to do his best to ensure the new council works respectfully with new administrators coming on board.

And “to recognize the fact that the number of resignations of senior staff in Sarnia since 2016 is unprecedented in the Province of Ontario.”

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