Sarnia City Council. photo by Melanie Irwin

Mayor Defends Attendance Record

Sarnia’s mayor has missed about as many meetings as he’s attended over the past two years.

Attendance records for all regular and special meetings of Sarnia City Council from the beginning of this term have been published on the city’s website.

While Mike Bradley had near perfect attendance in the first year of this term, his presence started declining at the beginning of 2016.

He questions why the report doesn’t show why people were absent.

“Legally, I could not attend a number of meetings, particularly the in-camera ones, because of the law that says I could not be present. They wouldn’t document that,” says Bradley. “They also are very aware that I had four skin cancer operations over the last 18-months. Those operations were in London and I went through quite a bit of discomfort related to those operations.”

While Bradley claims council refuses to acknowledge reasons for his absence, Councillor Cindy Scholten says she and other councillors didn’t know where he was.

“I’ve been a councillor for three years now, and not one time in the entire three years has council ever had an email notification from the mayor that he’s not able to make a meeting or the reason why,” says Scholten. “We never know if he’s going to show up to chair a meeting and sometimes we don’t know if he’s going to recess it and if he’s going to bother coming back or not.”

Scholten says while she understands Bradley has had health issues, she doesn’t know any of the details or how many times he’s been absent because of it.

“He doesn’t share with council and often times when we ask senior staff, they don’t know either. There’s just a lack of communication,” she says.

Sarnia’s integrity commissioner determined Bradley contravened the Council Code of Conduct in 2016 and 2017.

Council also imposed various sanctions on the mayor in 2016 after a third-party workplace investigation report found he bullied and harassed four senior staff members, including Chief Administrative Officer Margaret Misek-Evans.

In 2014/ 2015, city council held 31 meetings. Bradley missed two full meetings and part of one other meeting.

In 2016, city council held 22 meetings. Bradley missed nine full meetings and part of four other meetings.

In 2017, city council held 26 meetings. Bradley missed ten full meetings and part of five other meetings.

Attendance records will now be posted annually on the city website.

To view them, click here.