Cllr Linda Jeffrey labelled the misconduct allegation made in 2014 a case of ‘white privilege’, and was removed from her post by board members
Brampton mayor says city officials have been ‘vindicated’ by report, but city director said probe is inadequate
Brampton’s mayor, Linda Jeffrey, has said city officials were vindicated by a report into an alleged sexual harassment and bullying scandal and that she is ready to “return to work”.
But Janet Annesley, the city’s executive director of business services, said on Wednesday that the report, from the province’s civil service commission, was “inadequate” and that the concerns raised by city staff were not addressed.
“It should have been an independent review,” Annesley said. “It didn’t deliver that.”
Jeffrey is one of the highest-profile women to lose her job in the #MeToo movement and told reporters that the City of Brampton has stood by her amid the scandal.
“For anyone who has been apart of Brampton’s executive team and sub-unified staff, I’m not afraid to fight for you,” she said. “I’m not frightened, and I am happy to return to work.”
Two city directors, Gord McNaught and Lindsey Doyle, were dismissed from their respective posts last December in response to the complaint. Jeffrey was then demoted from council president to the director’s position, resulting in an extraordinary disciplinary meeting for a trustee. The meeting, which Jeffrey also attended, created a police presence outside the council chambers.
She was ousted after spending “on the job” more than 1,000 hours at work in 2014, according to the complaint. A city law requires that full-time staff spend 30 hours of overtime a year for their positions. In addition, Jeffrey did not provide a formal written complaint to the city’s code of conduct at the time of her dismissal.
In the report, the commission concluded that Jeffrey appeared to be the object of a “clearly hostile work environment” that compromised her ability to do her job and that she acted aggressively towards city staff at three separate times. It also stated that she made “unwelcome comments” and was “recalcitrant” towards her staff when she wasn’t in attendance.
The commission found that the alleged misconduct occurred during Jeffrey’s employment and after the 2014 board meeting when the conflict between the city’s directors and the corporation has been resolved.
The commission also found that the report was “not completed in a timely manner” and recommended that the municipal code of conduct be amended to include “a six-month disability protection period prior to the termination of employment where a person has sought a grievance of discrimination with the Civil Service Commission for reasonably caused misconduct”.
The commission report pointed out that the city had a policy against sexual harassment and the Brampton municipality adopted the National Occupational Health and Safety Manual in 2010, which included policies against sexual harassment and bullying.
It also said that according to Jeffrey’s contract, she was entitled to a 30-day severance pay.
It’s unclear whether the city will appeal the decision.
In a statement on the city’s website, Jeffrey said that the “whole issue” is not over and promised to stand up for her city.
“Despite the actions of those who orchestrated this malicious effort to undermine my performance as a manager, I will continue to do the job that I was hired to do,” she said. “As I stand by my colleagues and the employees of Brampton, I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the public continues to receive the service that the citizens of Brampton deserve.”