Will West Lincoln Mayor see his regional pay cut because of May tweet?

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Published October 21, 2021 at 12:30 pm

The issue of the May tweet that West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma sent to a constituent is still hanging over the head. Or perhaps his wallet.

Bylsma is already a lightning rod for controversy as an anti-masker, COVID-denier and anti-vaxxer. He’s attended at least one anti-mask rally. He has expressed opposition to the LGBTQ+ community (“What are they fighting for?”), as well as the BLM movement (“All lives matter.”)

But despite the fact he’s apologized for the wording of his May tweet to a female constituent Emily Spanton (and just the wording), asking if the COVID-19 vaccine affected her menstrual cycle, it continues to be the issue that won’t go away for the outspoken mayor.

Reviewing the situation over several months, Niagara Region’s interim integrity commissioner Michael Maynard is now recommending the regional council, where Bylsma also sits as a member, suspend his pay for at least seven days.

Niagara Regional Council actually has the ability to strip any councillors’ pay for up to 90 days over issues of misconduct.

Regional councillors are paid $30,204 per year, with an additional $2,000 paid to chairs of our Standing Committees. This is, of course, on top of the $30,000 Bylsma gets paid as West Lincoln Mayor.

West Lincoln Council issued Staton an apology for the mayor’s tweet back in May and subsequently voted to strip him of his positions on both the Peninsula West Power Inc. (PWPI) board and the West Lincoln Heritage Committee.

The council apology stated, “The Township of West Lincoln would like to extend sincere apologies to Emily Spanton for what it considers inappropriate communication from Mayor Bylsma. Our role as a government is to create a safe place for residents and the Council of West Lincoln finds Mayor Bylsma’s actions unsettling and not in keeping with our Code of Conduct.”

At the time, Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley also issued a statement about Bylsma’s comments, saying they were inappropriate for a regional councillor.

“It is exceptionally disappointing that a statement needs to be issued on a topic of conversation that is so obviously inappropriate. These types of interactions are embarrassing, and reflect poorly on our entire community,” Bradley wrote.

“I want to be clear: I completely condemn the councillor’s conduct in regard to this matter. This behaviour is not becoming of a regional councillor, nor is it the type of conduct the public expects and deserves from an elected official.”

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