In any event, this wall display contains dozens of photos and names of current and former councillors, members of the public, and town staff who have either been dismissed or resigned from their jobs in recent years. Names were written under the photos and some had black lines drawn between them and notations such as “you’re fired” or “you’re hired.” The mayor acknowledged the existence of the wall display and called it a mind map and some of his supporters have been quoted as suggesting it was a diagram to keep track of the employees of the municipality. From my experience that kind of diagram would be known as an organization chart and would be available throughout the municipal office, not posted on the wall of a private washroom.
A complaint was filed with the municipality’s Integrity Commissioner Suzanne Craig, who conducted a six month investigation and concluded that the mayor had committed workplace harassment against his staff in several incidents. Even if he felt the need for some sort of “mind map,” she found its location unreasonable – being displayed on the wall of a public building with captions such as “you are dead.” She also found, in a separate investigation, that the mayor was guilty of disclosing confidential information during an interview. He was ordered to make a public apology to staff within 90 days while also losing one month’s pay.
The mayor refused to apologize for the wall display and on March 6 council voted to dock him six month’s pay (three months for each of the two infractions), to keep him from contact with municipal staff except by email, and to bar him from office during working hours except to collect mail.
“But wait,” as they say in all those tiresome TV commercials, that isn’t all. Since last fall three women whose photos are in that wall display (including a former mayor of the municipality) have tried unsuccessfully to get the council to release a threat assessment report which concluded that there was a high risk (8 out of 10) for escalation of behaviour on the part of the current mayor. He too is complaining that he is not able to see this report to find out why he is supposedly “such a bad person.”
And to think that people claim that municipal government is boring compared to activities at the provincial and federal levels. Let them try and trump the shenanigans in Whitchurch-Stouffville (although that is perhaps not the best term to use for this challenge).