Town apologizes to Seymour; seeks applicants to rebuild fire brigade

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The Town of Spaniard’s Bay has issued a formal apology to firefighter and town councillor Brenda Seymour “for instances of sexual harassment she has endured.”

Brenda Seymour

Released early Tuesday afternoon, the letter signed by Mayor Tony Menchions states the town does “not condone, nor tolerate” the type of behaviour Seymour has described in relation to her service with the fire department.

“As council, we have adopted a zero tolerance policy on harassment of any kind and shall ensure that all town workers and volunteers operate in a safe, respectful and inclusive environment.”

As for the fire department that lost the majority of its members last week, the town appears to be ready to move forward and accept applications for membership. The deadline for applicants is Friday, Feb. 12.

“Eligibility is available to past and present members as well as any community minded individuals with an interest in the fire service.”

The letter also thanks those who have served on the department past and present.

The majority of the town’s firefighters resigned at a council meeting last week, as did Coun. Sheri Collins, who was the department’s liaison for council.

Seymour previously brought up allegations of harassment on the department and introduced a motion last November calling on council to remove or suspend the now former fire chief Victor Hiscock. Hiscock was among those who resigned from the department last week.


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One instance of sexual harassment Seymour brought up revolved around a training session in 2014 where the trainer played a short pornographic video clip. Yesterday, the board responsible for the Bay de Grave Regional Fire Department announced that the trainer in question, Jeremy Hall, had been replaced as the fire chief.

Organizations: Bay de Grave Regional Fire Department

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Recent comments

  • LISA
    January 28, 2016 - 21:26

    The Spaniard's Bay Town Council has blocked all emails to their guest website since this controversy began. An admission of guilt.

  • LISA
    January 28, 2016 - 14:14

    Ms Seymour was elected twice to council, the last being a bye election in 2015. She narrowly lost the mayoral race in the last full election to a Wayne Smith who was a town manager for over 25 years. Mr Smith resigned last year due to medical reasons creating a disturbing chain of events where Deputy Mayor Paul Brazil refused to accept the position of Mayor. Rather then have a Mayor bye election the 6 Town Councillors had an internal vote and elected Tony Menchions as mayor. This was not democracy by the people of Spaniard's Bay and shows the flaws in the Municipality Act that allow this kind of vote to happen. Anyway a bye election to replace the Councillor position held by Mr. Menchions was held which was easily won by Ms Seymour. Despite all the hatred and demonizing of her by the resigned fire fighters/their families, I can assure you she is well respected by 90% of voters in the town. Spaniard's Bay has a lot of very well educated people who disagree with sexual harassment and gender bias and who are totally against the the leaders of the Fire Dept such as Chief Hiscock and Captain Snow in leading most of the firemen to mass resignations. . The fact Ms Seymour is the victim of sexual harassment and gender bias trumps everything. She will get re=elected and we need more ambitious outspoken women like her on council and in all fire depts across Canada.

  • *
    January 28, 2016 - 10:39

    Seymour was elected in good faith by the people to serve the community. Embarrassing and belittling them, the very people that put her in office,in view of the nation, is serving the community? Anyone now that works with her or on council will be walking on eggshells because every time she don't get her way she'll be running to the media. Next election, she's gone. Who wants that kind of aggravation?

  • Sam #2
    January 28, 2016 - 07:08

    Zipper, Lori, Denise, Brad et al; It doesn't matter what Brenda Seymour's agenda is or was. The fact is, she is the victim of sexual harassment and that trumps all else. And, the whole Volunteer Fire Department, the wives and young kids of the Volunteer Fire Department look like a bunch of uneducated hillbillies by your protest in the media. Especially the young female teenagers wearing jackets emblazoned with Firefighter's Daughter" if that gives them special All this sends the wrong message and makes your community look terrible. Start damage control, admit the sexual harassment was wrong, stay out of the media unless you are going to send the "right message", and stop stirring the pot on that bloody facebook. You are damaging your image worldwide and it's embarrassing to all Newfoundlanders.

  • Joe
    January 27, 2016 - 14:56

    I think she should be removed from any position involved with that community until a outside investigation is complete(and not by her) and the facts surrounding the events are known. Seems to me she was trying to use her seat in the council to advance her firefighting and when she hit barriers she played the sexual hassarment card. She needs to be investigated. The rest has come to light and has been dealt with.

  • LISA
    January 27, 2016 - 14:03

    I am shocked there are still people on here blaming the victim. There are no more sides of the story. Ms Seymour .may have been very outspoken about so many problems in the fire department and thus many firefighters felt intimidated. So she fights wrongdoing, is very outspoken and is hated by many of the fireman who resigned as well as their family members. Suck it up people. It's 2016 and not the 1950's. The old boys' club is gone for good.

  • Zipper
    January 27, 2016 - 12:27

    Unfortunately, the real issue hasn't been dealt with - and what that is, we (general public) may never know. Regardless of the unprofessional behaviour of some fire fighters (ie. porn video during a training session), a group of 20 don't resign for a simple issue. The media has latched on the sexual harassment of Ms Seymour, yet, not searching to why they 20 individuals resigned. Ms. Seymour seems to have her own agenda - using her role on the council for her own ambition. She needs to either step down from council or the fire department - especially if they're looking for a new fire chief.

    • Zipper a.k.a. Joe
      January 27, 2016 - 21:28

      Yep, there are still some backward thinking people out there trying desperately to excuse the inexcusable. Now we have the fool's logic that anyone who speaks up about a wrongdoing should be punished for speaking out. We keeping hearing the BS that 'there's another side of the story'. Well here's another side - A man (especially 20 men) doesn't run away if falsely accused of doing something wrong - but punks and bullies always do.

  • Lori
    January 26, 2016 - 21:21

    I think that it is time to put it to rest like the mayor stated on the news tonight. The firefighter that show the porn clip has been dismissed of his training duties and as chief of his own department. Let that part rest for now. Seymour should be told that while she is holding put positions of both a firefighter and councilor, she is not to use it to her advantage. She doesn't have the authority to go over the executives heads when trying to get something to her advantage like attending fire school. Items discussed or not discussed at a fire department meeting should not to be brought up to the town council meetings by her, that is not her job. The fire departments liason chosen by council, in this case was Sherri's job to do. I wonder will she reapply to get a spot on the fire department? If not pick this time around watch for a discrimination case to open up.

  • Denise
    January 26, 2016 - 21:04

    Why did it take SO long for her to come forward with all this. I wish the truth would come out. My mom always told me there are 3 sides to every story. Yours, theirs and the truth!

  • Karen
    January 26, 2016 - 20:04

    In my opinion Mr hall received some form of reprimand for the showing of the porn but what reprimand did the fireman who told ms. Seymour that her equipment was jerked on receive....oh I know he received support in the form of a rally....the porn video is a form of sexual harassment is the comments that were made by the Spaniards bay fireman....

  • And so
    January 26, 2016 - 19:21

    Who would place any credibility in politicians' apologizing. They had to do that to save face because of all of the media flack.

    January 26, 2016 - 13:06

    And I hope all the people protesting for the fireman and against this lady apologize, too.

    • Shirley
      January 26, 2016 - 15:38

      This lady's reputation has been dragged through the mud Listen to her speaking. She's educated, she thinks things through. She didn't slam one person like she's been disrespected She's qualified She shows interest in learning. Isn't that what good leadership is all about. I'm so happy for you Brenda. I just wish you didn't have to go through all the crap. Hugs

  • Cheryl
    January 26, 2016 - 13:04

    Mel, Fred and all the other apologists for old boy mentality, you keep saying there's another side to this story but have yet to hear it. If there was another explanation that made all this go away, don't you think we would have heard if by now. But porn flicks and crude sexual remarks make for a hostile workplace - case closed. And if they all thought Brenda Seymour was so hard to get along with, don't you think they'd be extra careful not to give her any cause to complain to Ms. Collins, town council or the media? You realize all of this could have been over in a day or two if those in charge had acted promptly to discipline those responsible, if Seymour had been given the unequivocal apology she deserved, and if the other 20 sheep hadn't followed their leader out the door. You managed to put Spaniard's Bay on the map - but not in a good way. Let's see how many of them come crawling back for their jobs.

    • Brad
      January 26, 2016 - 13:47

      There is another side to this story. The problem is, they can't speak out on it per advice of their lawyer. I'm not an apologist. I, I abhor any sexual based violence or harassment. But unlike the lynch mob, I look at the facts and analyze all sides with equal merit. While what the trainer did was bad, Ms. Seymour isn't an angel either based on what I have heard and seen. Going above chain of command is a huge no no, and she caused problems with the other firefighter.

    • Grapnel
      January 26, 2016 - 14:02

      Couldn't agree more. If there is "another side" to this, the people who know what it is should probably start talking. It's not like they don't have multiple platforms on social media to get their story out. But they refuse to say anything except "there's more to the story".

    • Bob
      January 26, 2016 - 16:26

      So Cheryl, any body who wait to hear the men's side of the story before condemning the must be part of the old boy's club?? You seem really eager to call down these volunteer firemen (opps , I mean firefighters).

    • reality check
      January 26, 2016 - 16:44

      brad- on 'advice from their lawyer'? convenient excuse to say nothing. they never claimed innocence just basically said nothing, and their supporters did the rest, as in saying Ms Seymour should just get over it. given the apology from the town council , really says that there is no 'other' side to this story. case closed.

    • Brad
      January 26, 2016 - 18:52

      Because, as I said, the lawyers have advised them not to say anything. Is it that difficult to comprehend trusting advice from a trained professional?

  • Winston Adams
    January 26, 2016 - 12:42

    It`s a man`s world they say..... sure even God is male, or so most assume. Women have had it hard. In Bible times the men would kill other men in battle and bring back the women and young girls as a war prise. ISIS does this now. Women were denied the vote until a hundred years ago. The civil war in the USA resulted in the black man getting the vote in the 1860`s, but for a woman it took another half century, and a long hard struggle. Women here got to vote around 1925. My wife says that a woman will get blamed even when she is in the right, and this is generally true, and keeps many from speaking out on issues of abuse and harassment. But times they are a changing, Dylan wrote in the 1960s. But change comes slowly. For a group of men to show a porn clip at a fire training session, is improper even if no woman was there. If these male firemen have any guts they would each personally apologise to Brenda Seymour for not objecting to this immature unprofessional incident. And assuming they are otherwise good capable firemen, reapply and get on, in a respectful manner. My grandson, when aged 8, admitted that sometimes he`s bad, but added, `I always learn a lesson`. It never too late to learn a lesson. I wish the best for Seymour and all the firemen who can learn a lesson from this, such that it will improve, not tarnish the image of Spaniard`s Bay, and the province. This is not the sort of national media coverage that we need. And I applaud Seymour for standing up.

    • M. Claudette Sandecki
      January 26, 2016 - 14:52

      If these male firemen have any guts they would each personally apologise to Brenda Seymour for not objecting to this immature unprofessional incident. (the showing of the porno film.) This is the most sensible, level headed comment I've read throughout a week's media reports.

  • Yoda
    January 26, 2016 - 12:30

    To little to late. the perception now is that they are trying to cover their ass to save a lawsuit. Same as the other fire department that removed the trainer(Fire Chief) yesterday. if these steps would have been taken when this first came up the councils would not be in this mess. A good lesson to town councils, take care of things right the first time and it wont come back to bite you in the ass...

  • Mel
    January 26, 2016 - 12:13

    There is a lot we don't know about this situation. generally there are 3 sides to each story (my side, your side, and the truth). We have Seymour's side and that's it. Remember that Ms Seymour is also a town councillor, it seems as if she reported to the fire chief who reportes to council (her). Ms Seymour may not be the only victim here. Was there any interference in the chief's role from Seymour in here role as councillor?

    • Judi
      January 26, 2016 - 12:32

      It doesn't matter how many sides there are to this story. The showing of a porn film in what was supposed to be a professional training class is completely unacceptable in the workplace.

    • steve
      January 26, 2016 - 14:10

      That's what your dealing with Judi ,people who thought this was o.k. in 2016 none the less. it would almost be comical if it weren,t so idiotic.

    • Brad
      January 26, 2016 - 18:40

      Actually it does matter how many sides to this story there are. She could very well be not telling the truth, like some people have when they accuse someone of sex based crimes. However, I believe there was stuff untoward done by both parties. What I am struggling with is, why bring this up now? Why wait 18+ months, and only because prompted by other events that caused a councillor to resign over alleged actions Ms. Seymour took? I'm not defending these guys, I believe there was wrongful things done, but I don't believe Ms. Seymour is an angel like some are portraying her to be,

  • Who, what, where, how?
    January 26, 2016 - 11:52

    Sexual harassment......(typically of a woman) in a workplace or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks. How does the video apply to that definition? What other unmentioned harassment instances were there?

  • Fred
    January 26, 2016 - 11:38

    Political grandstanding don't cut it. The town has lost most of it's fire fighters, councilor and fire liaison offer Ms Collins . Everything is swept under the rug. Seymore wins. She will become the new fire chief or all hell will break loose again. No apologies to Ms Collins and the tax payers of Spainards Bay are left standing there like fools.

    • Taylor
      January 26, 2016 - 12:21

      Because those left standing there, supporting ANY of them are fools. The town will easily get more firefighters, and more respectful ones I would hope. Seymour can have the fire chief position IF she has earned it (just like ANYONE else). Those that are gone - good riddance!

    • Grapnel
      January 26, 2016 - 12:24

      The town lost those firemen because they refused to live in the 21st century. They had a fine old-boys club going on there with crude jokes, a hostile work environment and lax safety standards. Brenda Seymour brought it all into the light, and rather then face it like people who actually cared about their community, the firemen decided to bail on the whole business. There will be a new fire department in Spainards Bay, a better fire department. And watching knuckle draggers like you react like scald cats is really making my morning.

    • Shelley
      January 26, 2016 - 13:50

      Seems to me she has the education and the qualifications compared to the men, so maybe she does "deserve" it. She worked for it after all.

  • Elizabeth
    January 26, 2016 - 11:34

    The members who resigned from the Fire Department should be ashamed of themselves and their family members should be ashamed of themselves as well. What in the hell are you teaching your children? I can only imagine it would all be a different story should it happen to one of their own children.

    • bob
      January 26, 2016 - 12:30

      Elizabeth, why should they be ashamed of themselves? Because they supported their chief? And why do you cast shame on their family members. That is pretty awful of you to drag them into this Elizabeth. What about the young children, should them be ashamed for supporting their fathers?? Your statement says a lot about you.. . These 20 firefighters and their families, maybe they happen to know more about this story then you do? Why is it that Mrs. Seymour is still going to the media after the chief she wanted removed had already resigned? Seems like she is playing the gender card for her own political advantage. She must want the Mayor's job next?? I suspect this story is not over by a long shot. I don't support discrimination, but I fail to see what more Mrs Seymour is hoping to gain by publicly trying to ruin the lives of these people when she already had the chief resign. But, I guess if I don't jump on the man bashing bandwagon and complain about these men, I will be branded a sexist pig as well. So call me what you like, I am pretty sure my family will not be ashamed of me...

    • McLovin
      January 26, 2016 - 14:30

      @ bob - your "Chief" was a major part of the problem. Had he taken steps to address the harassment in the first place, none of this would have been an issue. It seems to me that this Fire Department has had issues with Ms. Seymour from the start. Don't accuse her of playing the gender card. She has done nothing wrong her as keeps geting proven over and over again. The Chief and the Firefighters are in the wrong. And publically trying to ruin lives? Are you kidding? It wasn't Ms. Seymour who decided to rally 200 family and friends and CHILDREN in support of the Chief. She didnt force any of the firefighters to resign. That was a choice they made on their own.

    • Bob
      January 26, 2016 - 16:18

      Mclovin, you are wrong. She first tried to get the chief removed in November. She was a town councilor who voted to get him removed and when she got out voted, she called the media. She was a firefighter who wanted a promotion (already been reported by media) and her action as a councillor helped create an opening for herself. Seems like a conflict of interest to me. And btw, you say the he should have taken action? Again, as councillor she was his boss. Following chain of command, he had his hands tied. She was the complainant and his superior. It is very telling that the council liaison for the fire dept also resigned her seat. It is funny nobody calls her a sexist pig for supporting the chief. I guess that is because she is a woman? But, the fact that none of the men and the fire dept liason are making comments as of yet tells me that we have not heard the last of this. Seems like they have their own cards to play. Only time to tell. But mclovin you keep on shaming these men if it makes you happy. You must be getting some weird satisfaction out of this?

    • Brad
      January 26, 2016 - 18:48

      @McLovin - "Don't accuse her of playing the gender card." Why? He made a well thought out point about how if you don't agree with something, you're automatically branded a sexist pig, which you basically just did in your reply. Any person to me who argues, "if you believe in X, then you are Y" automatically loses any credibility. That's like Americans saying that Canadians are socialists because they support Medicare. Do you believe that to be true? Do you see how silly your argument sounds now?