Essex Councillor Docked 30-Days Pay for Actions Towards E.L.K. Energy

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Essex Town Council voted 4-2 in favour of Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze's recommendation to dock Councillor Sherry Bondy's pay for 30 days.

Swayze ruled Bondy's posts on social media directed at E.L.K. Energy Inc. staff violated the town's code of conduct.

He also saw a cartoon depicting a person with a lightbulb for a head being led to the gallows as a threat against staff at the company. 

Ward 3 Councillor Steve Bjorkman supported Bondy's stance that the cartoon was meant to depiction her own persecution.

"Councillor Bondy identified herself from day one of this term as the official opposition, so it's not a stretch to think that she believes she's the lightbulb in the middle of those candles," he says. "That is something she's built her brand around as being the only one who asks the tough questions."

Ward 3 Councillor Chris Vander Doelen was handed a punishment of his own back in May.

Swayze ruled he violated the code of conduct with tweets about COVID-19 that caused a backlash from the public.

"Two months I was docked 60-days pay for uttering two words of truth about the pandemic, today it looks like council will probably get past that punishment with someone who threatened people with a noose," says Vander Doelen.

Bondy maintained the situation stems from her part in an investigation that led to charges being laid against Mayor Larry Snively following the 2018 Municipal Election.

Snively brought the ELK issue to the integrity commissioner in April.

"This definitely was not political in any way. I want to protect our staff," he says. "I'm not saying councillor Bondy doesn't work hard."

Ward 1 Councillor Joe Garon joined Bjorkman in opposing the recommendation, saying he respected the decision, but didn't agree with the punishment.