Councillors with the City of Dryden have been cleared of any ill-intent over the Dryden Fire Service’s work stoppage and shift to a new firefighting model earlier this year.

The complaints were filed in April, in the middle of the volunteer firefighter dispute. The complaints alleged that four councillors and Mayor Greg Wilson were exhibiting a pattern of negative behaviour – including “harassment”, “bullying”, “collusion” and “intimidation.

The complaints continued to allege that Mayor Wilson, along with councillor Nick Beyak, Norm Bush, Martin MacKinnon and John Carlucci were failing to act in a transparent or democratic manner, during the dispute.

A municipal council Integrity Commissioner was tasked to handle the complaints. In the report, the commissioner says that the complainants allege a series of bad efforts by council to discredit the volunteer Dryden Firefighter Association, in order to shift to a new model of service.

The commissioner also detailed the respondents reply to the allegations, as councillors and Mayor Wilson were given the opportunity to respond to the claims.

“The respondents categorically deny that they were a part of a collective effort to target the volunteer firefighters. They take the position that, as members of City of Dryden Council, they have an obligation to consider how to best provide the residents of the community with municipal services, including effective and safe fire services. For a number of reasons, they assert that this is exactly what they were doing,” the report stated.

The report later states that there was no contravention of the Council Code of Conduct by councillors or Mayor Wilson, and no action on the commissioner’s part would be required.

“The actions of the Mayor and Councillors did not breach the Council Code of Conduct. The issue involves a public policy debate, not a breach of the Code. Unless the Code has been contravened there is no role for the Integrity Commissioner,” the report stated.

The Dryden Firefighters Association withdrew their services on February 22. The City of Dryden made the decision to move forward with their new firefighting model on May 28.

The report can be found here.

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