Bruce Proud, a councillor with the Hamlet of Enterprise, has been banned from entering the municipality’s Community Hall for three months over accusations that he “harassed, threatened and intimidated” an employee working there.
Proud vehemently denies those accusations.
“That is a myth,” he said. “That never happened.”
However, hamlet council imposed the sanction in October after an investigation by the hamlet’s senior administrative officer and a motion based on legal advice at an in-camera meeting, which Proud was asked to leave.
Proud claims it is an effort by a faction on council to discredit him.
“They’re being punitive and they’re trying to pick a fight with me to reduce my credibility in council or to get me discouraged to actually quit council,” he said. “I’m a thorn in their flesh.”
Proud was acclaimed to council last December to fill a vacancy that had a year remaining on its term, meaning his seat is up for election next month.
Mayor Winnie Cadieux had very little to say about the situation.
“I really can’t comment on anything because the discussions were in camera,” she said, adding that it also involves a personnel matter.
Proud claims he has not been given an opportunity to defend himself before council.
The councillor said, after he was asked to leave the in-camera meeting in October, he waited for over an hour and then left.
“I should have been there to defend myself,” he said, adding he was not even told what the in-camera session was about.
Cadieux confirmed the councillor was asked to leave the in-camera meeting.
“And after the discussion was concluded, we went to bring Mr. Proud back into the meeting and he was gone from the building,” she said.
The mayor also confirmed Proud has not yet had an opportunity to address hamlet council on the issue.
“We’ve only had one regular meeting since then and Mr. Proud was unable to attend,” she said. “There would be opportunity.”
Proud said he is “throwing the gauntlet down” for hamlet council to either prove the allegations, or retract them and apologize.
In a letter to Proud, Cadieux wrote that the investigation concluded the complaint is founded.
“As you know, the Hamlet has a duty to protect its employees from harassment both from co-workers, council members and members of the public as per the Hamlet’s Harassment Policy,” the mayor wrote. “When it is found that an employee is being harassed, the Hamlet must take corrective action to ensure that the conduct is not repeated and that the employee feels safe in the workplace.”
When dropping off or picking up his wife, who works at the Community Hall, Proud must do so and “immediately” leave the property. When picking up his wife, he was also directed to arrive on the property no more that five minutes prior to the end of his wife’s shift and wait for her in his vehicle.
“Should you not respect the restriction of your presence at the Community Hall, it will be considered trespassing and appropriate action will be taken,” Cadieux’s letter states, adding that any form of retaliation against the employee who made the complaint or that worker’s family, as well as against any other hamlet employee, would be considered a violation of the municipality’s Harassment Policy.
Proud said he has “religiously” followed the restrictions, while calling them mean and vindictive.
The councillor also accused the hamlet council of being petty, including by keeping him away from Christmas events at the Community Hall.