Over the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to work with Anne Marie Gillis on her election campaign for mayor. I found the experience rewarding and interesting. While the outcome was not what we’d hoped, I watched Anne Marie tirelessly and relentlessly campaign, all the while attending to her duties as a member of City Council and her position as the Intermediary between the City CAO and Mayor Bradley.
We are now in the position of waiting to witness some of our councillors move on. Some of these councilors who were poorly treated for years by the mayor and those who provided support to him, even though he was factually found responsible of breaking the Code of Conduct and the findings of the Workplace Investigation Report which documents his harassment and bullying of several staff. Three of them have left the employe of City Hall.
We will now wait until the new council takes their seats in the Council Chamber. There are concerns regarding the makeup of the incoming Council, curious to observe how pre-election loyalties to the mayor may or may not affect judgements in decision making, or how personal animosities notably made towards staff may cause further disturbance with City Hall. Both the mayor and the new council should make themselves clear as to the parameters of their respective positions regarding their relationship with employees of City Hall.
We are also concerned as a re-elected Mayor, notably absent from council during the past two years, awaits to continue his duties with a somewhat different council. He suggests that he understands mistakes were made, lessons learned and he has or will change his style. And yet, little comfort can be found in those words. In the October issue of The Sarnia Journal on line, comments by the Mayor of “we are going to take back City Hall”, are as concerning as they are ambiguous. His dislike for the CAO are clearly well documented. In the Bernardi Report, September 19, 2016, it is stated that for “the majority of Ms. Misek-Evans’ time at the City”, (she hired on in October of 2013), “Mayor Bradley harassed and bullied her.” While speaking on a local talk show this past October 23rd, the host referenced the poor relationship between Bradley and the CAO, at which point he said that he will “discuss this with the new council on options for moving forward.”
Bradley was quoted, “that his win is an exoneration for his part in the dissension that characterized the past term at City Hall”. It is clear from the two reports of breaching the Code of Conduct and the Workplace Investigation Report that it was he who caused so much of the “dissension”. In the same issue, his campaign manager Michelle Stokely ludicrously suggests that Bradley didn’t deserve the embarrassment of two investigations into his treatment of staff, adding that she thinks “it was Mike Bradley who was harassed.” By her statements she is indicating that the reports and their authors have little or no credibility, nor do the former staff members who claimed maltreatment by the mayor.
The Mayor ignored the Dignity and Humanity of the women he injured. His cavalier attitude towards the reports and the ladies today continues to exacerbate the damage he has done, not only to our City but to the victims of his actions.
It is curious that certain organizations, or members of organizations clearly showed their support for the return of Bradley to the mayor’s chair. In most businesses and other sectors, there are Workplace accepted laws decrying the harassment and bullying of employees. And yet Bradley scored another victory…a victory perhaps for him and his supporters, not necessarily a victory for our city.
Mayor Bradley is not exonerated simply due to his “win”. The findings of the Integrity Commissioner and Lauren Bernardi remain in place, as do the sanctions placed on him by the present council.
Mayor Bradley has again taken on the position of Mayor through an election that, if nothing else, indicates the condoning of Harassment and Bullying.
The headline of the Sarnia Journal noted above reads “Bradley silences his critics with a landslide victory”
I would suggest that the critics are not going anywhere.