Spaniard’s Bay rebuilding
Town issues apology, makes call for firefighting applications
The mayor of the embattled Town of Spaniard’s Bay believes the public apology to Brenda Seymour is a step in the right direction.
Tony Menchions told The Compass last week he believes this will lead to a reprieve in tensions that engulfed his town following the resignation of at least 20 firefighters and Coun. Sheri Collins, who was the liaison to the department, two weeks ago.
“It took longer than we all wanted,” said Menchions “We’re going to do the right thing. We have to start somewhere.”
The right thing in this case is adopting a zero tolerance policy when it comes to harassment of any kind and a pledge to make sure town employees, as well as volunteers operate in “a safe, respectful and inclusive environment.”
“On behalf of the Spaniard’s Bay town council, I apologize to Brenda Seymour for instances of sexual harassment which she has endured. We do not condone, nor tolerate any such behavior,” the town said Jan. 26 in a news release signed by Menchions.
In the week following the resignations, allegations of sexual harassment and a mismanagement of the department came from Seymour, a firefighter and a councillor in the community.
“Council promises a safe and respectful environment and supports gender equity,” states the release written with help from the Department of Municipal Affairs, MHA Pam Parsons and the fire commissioner’s office.
At the same time Spaniard’s Bay sent out the release, a veteran firefighter spoke out about the allegations.
Ross Snow was a 13-year member of the department in a Facebook post, Snow addressed the clip, stating that “jokes and comments were made by all. In no way was it directed to Brenda in any way.”
At the conclusion of his post, Snow suggests that the principle people involved, including Seymour should step aside until the “allegations and the legal proceedings end. Upon completion of those matters then shall any or all persons be dealt with accordingly.”
Seymour told The Compass she “accepts” the town’s apology.
“It exonerates me in the public eye to some extent,” said Seymour. “I’m quite pleased with it.”
When contacted by The Compass, she addressed pieces of Snow’s post. She said her husband, Martin, was in Alberta when the clip was shown.
“They tried to deal with it, but they didn’t eliminate the problem,” said Seymour.
There were also allegations of harassment leveled at Seymour in relation to the resignation of Collins. Seymour denied this and noted some statements were taken out of context.
Meanwhile, the town is looking to rebuild its shattered fire department and is issuing a call for applications from interested members of the community. Former members are welcome to apply, although they will need to fill out an application. The deadline to do so is 4 p.m. on Feb. 12.
“We have to build from the ashes,” said Menchions.
Brenda Seymour (right) speaks with supporters after a recent meeting between the Town of Spaniard’s Bay and representatives of the Department of Municipal Affairs.