Barrie councillor ordered to take training in connection with employee harassment

·2 min read

Two months of internal investigations and behind-closed-door meetings about a harassment case involving a city employee and Barrie councillor have come to an end.

All of the city’s municipal politicians except for Ward 10 Coun. Mike McCann voted Dec. 21 on measures aimed at helping avoid similar situations in the future.

The measures include:

• That the councillor take workplace violence and harassment training to be paid by the city;

• That the councillor comply with the city's staff/council relations policy and only deal with staff through the appropriate manager;

• That the councillor write a letter of apology to the aggrieved staff member, if requested to do so.

Reached by telephone Dec. 22, McCann said he could not comment on the issue because the subject is confidential.

A media release from the city stated council has continually taken measures to protect the identity of the employee, and confidentiality issues “resulted in a limited ability to share details and action" concerning the case.

“This does not and should not be taken to mean that Council has not been acting diligently on the matter,” the statement read.

CUPE Local 2380 president Mike Murphy, whose union represents about 500 city workers, confirmed recently the alleged incident happened less than a year ago and involved a member of council and a full-time, unionized municipal employee.

“I can’t give you names because there is a confidentiality piece,” he said at the time. “There were a number of allegations that were made, and many of them were substantiated. It’s important to recognize our Local, as well as the city management, worked very collaboratively together. Our goal is to ensure our members have a harassment-free workplace so they can go about their jobs.

"It’s not a common thing to have happened," he added. "I’ve been involved in this role for a couple years, and the Local executive for six or seven, and I’ve never had anything like this come up. This is uncharted territory for us and the city.

Rick Vanderlinde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance