The external lawyer hired by the City of Sarnia to investigate Mayor Mike Bradley’s alleged harassment and bullying of staff members has taken “full responsibility” for failing to advise Bradley of a City Council decision to restrict his access to City Hall to normal business hours.
The incident provoked what Bradley has said was an embarrassing incident in which he was not able to access the building when he hosted a visiting delegation on Saturday.
Jamie Knight, the lawyer hired by the City, responding to a query that was forwarded by the Mayor to media, apologized for the delay in informing the Mayor of the decision made by Council on Thursday and executed by staff on Friday.
The Mayor’s access card is now at the same level as the City Manager, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“It was certainly not my intention to cause any issue for the Mayor on Thanksgiving Weekend,” Knight said in an e-mail.
Bradley, also in an e-mail, called the action “punitive one for the citizens of Sarnia and the Mayor’s office” and one that “does not assist the public in getting the immediate citizen customer service they deserve and have received for many years from the Mayor’s office.”
Bradley said the job of Mayor is a seven-day-a-week job and “weekends are of great value to work uninterrupted by the regular office routine on strategic directions, researching issues and writing.”
He added that “there are times on weekends when I meet with people and groups who cannot meet during regular weekday hours and who want privacy.”
The action, he said by e-mail, “shows a total lack of understanding of the demands on the Mayor’s office and suggests the Mayor should be just another civil servant with a set schedule. Sarnia does not have part time challenges.”