Spa­niard’s Bay mayor calls fire depart­ment meet­ing suc­cess­ful

Tony Men­chions says get-to­gether with former mem­bers went bet­ter than ex­pected

The Compass - - Sports - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

There was a lot dis­cussed last week be­tween all of us, and I think it went very well.

— Mayor Tony Men­chions

SPA­NIARD’S BAY, NL — Coun­cil mem­bers for the town of Spa­niard’s Bay and former mem­bers of the lo­cal fire depart­ment had a meet­ing last week.

The meet­ing was held to dis­cuss the find­ings of the find­ings of the depart­ment re­view, re­leased in late Fe­bru­ary of 2017.

The re­view, which is avail­able through the town’s web­site, came as a re­sult of sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions within the Spa­niard’s Bay Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment, which in­cluded the al­leged pre­sen­ta­tion of pornog­ra­phy dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion. Writ­ten by re­tired RCMP Sgt. Cliff Yet­man, the re­view found lit­tle ev­i­dence of ha­rass­ment and said fire­fight­ers did not de­serve scorn and ridicule. It was ac­cepted by coun­cil ear­lier this year.

Sev­eral former fire­fight­ers re­signed in Jan­uary of 2016, fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of coun­cil li­ai­son Sherri Collins. Collins claimed she was ver­bally ha­rassed by vol­un­teer fire­fighter Brenda Sey­mour, who is also a town coun­cil­lor.

Former chief Vic­tor His­cock was among those to re­sign and de­cided not to reap­ply for a po­si­tion with the brigade in Fe­bru­ary of 2016, say­ing he was done with it.

Mak­ing plans to meet with the former fire­fight­ers was among the recommendations Yet­man pre­sented to coun­cil in his re­view.

Mayor Tony Men­chions told The Com­pass he was very pleased with how the meet­ing turned out, de­spite the fact that he ex­pected peo­ple to en­ter the meet­ing al­ready a lit­tle heated.

“There was a lot dis­cussed last week be­tween all of us, and I think it went very well,” said Men­chions. “I know that, go­ing in, some peo­ple may have al­ready been a lit­tle up­set, but by the time the meet­ing was over, we were all pretty much on the same page. It was good.”

A meet­ing with former chief His­cock, which took place about an hour prior, pre­ceded the meet­ing with former mem­bers of the brigade.

Men­chions also stated that he and the coun­cil at­tended the meet­ing to dis­cuss the re­view and other top­ics at hand, and he was not in­ter­ested in apol­o­giz­ing on any­one’s be­half.

“Things hap­pened, peo­ple’s names were dragged through the mud, we know that. But these were things that coun­cil had no con­trol over,” Men­chions ex­plained. “I had no in­ten­tions on apol­o­giz­ing for any­one. That’s not what the meet­ing was for.”

Men­chions told The Com­pass that al­though every­one seemed to be pleased with the re­sults of the meet­ing, noth­ing has been set in stone yet. Men­chions men­tioned some­thing would soon be writ­ten up, but was un­able to go into fur­ther de­tail.

Dur­ing a coun­cil meet­ing held on June 12, a list of new mem­bers was briefly dis­cussed by coun­cilors, which coun­cil had given the cur­rent brigade the go-ahead to do. Five new mem­bers have been added to the brigade.

Men­chions also dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of us­ing the old town hall build­ing in Spa­niard’s Bay for the ben­e­fit of the cur­rent fire brigade.

A ten­der to re­move the build­ing has been up for over a year, ac­cord­ing to Men­chions. If no buy­ers come for­ward, Men­chions says the lot could pos­si­bly be used as more space for the cur­rent fire depart­ment.

No ma­jor plans have yet been made for the prop­erty, and the dead­line to sub­mit a ten­der on the sale of the build­ing is set for July 7.

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

Tony Men­chions, mayor of Spa­niard’s Bay, says a re­cent meet­ing with former mem­bers of the fire depart­ment went bet­ter than ex­pected.

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