Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze reports to Essex council on August 22, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Ousted city ethics watchdog still at work in Lambton

The integrity commissioner ousted by the City of Sarnia is policing council conduct elsewhere in the area including the town of Plympton-Wyoming.

Robert Swayze recommended twice, in 2016 and 2017, that mayor Mike Bradley’s pay be suspended for violating the city’s code of conduct.

Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper said there weren’t any concerns about hiring Swayze.

“There wasn’t much hesitation,” said Napper. “We dealt with it through the county as a group and we had no problems with him. I hope we never have to use him anyway so you have to be optimistic about it.”

Napper said he hopes the code of conduct will be beneficial.

“I see it as a benefit if it can bring some civility to the council and maybe people can be a bit nicer to each other,” said Napper. “It acts as sort of a watchdog, and you maybe think twice about what you say and what you do. I think if everybody plays by the rules of order and carries on, then there should be no problem at all.”

Napper said other than a retainer, the municipality will only have to pay Swayze if his services are required.

As of March 1, every municipality in the province is required by law to have an integrity commissioner in place.