Spaniard's Bay town manager resigns

Nicholas Mercer
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A tumultuous month in the Town of Spaniard’s Bay continued today with news that a senior employee has resigned.

Spaniard's Bay's town manager Tony Ryan resigned form his post earlier today.

This morning longtime town manager Tony Ryan tendered his resignation effective immediately. There was no prior notice.

It’s the latest setback for a Conception Bay North community that has been shrouded in controversy since the majority of the town’s fire department stepped away from their duties in support of former councillor Sherri Collins, who tendered her resignation after accusing Coun. Brenda Seymour of harassing her. Collins was council's liaison with the department.

Seymour, the lone female firefighter in the brigade, levelled allegations of sexual harassment and mistreatment against the department. She has also denied harassing Collins.

“We were caught off guard,” said Mayor Tony Menchions of Ryan’s resignation. “It’s a rough time. We’ve been put through the wringer that last month.

“It’s a very stressful situation.”

The resignation comes just days after the town tabbed Kurt Roberts, a former assistant fire chief, as the replacement for the previous chief Victor Hiscock.


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In his resignation letter, Ryan made note of the fallout from the fire department scandal and the stress it’s put on his work and personal life as a key reason for stepping away.

“I no longer feel that I can give this position the dedication and commitment it deserves to be productive," the letter reads.

From the outside, it appeared the town was turning a corner after the controversy it found itself in and was set to take a step forward. It must now pick up the pieces and move forward again.

Spaniard’s Bay is now seeking the advice of the Department of Municipal Affairs on next step they should take in dealing with this latest blow.

The town must also continue to fill the ranks of its fire department and the application process is ongoing. The deadline is Feb. 12.

“We’ll do what we can,” said Menchions in regards to moving forward. “The next week or two will be big for Spaniard’s Bay.”

When contacted by The Compass, Ryan declined an interview request. The Town of Spaniard’s Bay’s next council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Organizations: Department of Municipal Affairs, The Compass

Geographic location: Conception Bay

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Recent comments

  • james
    February 14, 2016 - 10:02

    Women are second class citizens in Newfoundland, people this is 2016 get with the program

  • M. Claudette Sandecki
    February 10, 2016 - 13:14

    In reply to SkepticalNewfoundlander: Over and over I've read that Seymour's husband was present when the porn film was shown. Somewhere I also read Seymour disputed that, said her husband was in Alberta that day.

    • Just Saying
      February 11, 2016 - 10:35

      Maybe if the town had conducted a formal investigation into the allegations of harassment, instead of hiding and hoping this would all go away, we would not have to guess, speculate, and form our own conclusions. The only thing for certain is that no one in this town acted very professionally in this situation. Ms. Seymour should not have went public with her allegations until there was an investigation, the firefighters should never have resigned, council should have had an outside party conduct an investigation and should never have apologized until the findings were in. Any wonder the town is a laughing stock...

  • Regina Hurley
    February 09, 2016 - 19:46

    In consideration of all the disturbing events in one small town, I'd suggest the Department of Municipal Affairs take a serious look at restructuring the area - I'd suggest all the small towns be amalgamated into one large town of Conception Bay North thus creating a stronger tax base, less duplication of services and less opportunity for issues to not be taken to the forefront and properly dealt with when they occur. Small towns create a familiarity which can often be detrimental to the town as a whole.

  • Bern
    February 09, 2016 - 10:22

    Tony was a good Town Manager. It is sad that political ramblings and in-fighting hurts a beautiful town wit such great people. Thank you to the board for making our town a laughing stock. Too bad people are unable to work together to solve issues and maybe it is time to consolidate with Bay Roberts so there is a stable local government. Thanks for your service Tony and sorry it ended this way.

  • B
    February 09, 2016 - 09:46

    Were waiting and political watcher would make some piece of work on a jury. Trigger happy witch hunters.

    February 08, 2016 - 19:53

    Mr. Ryan: you have always been a good town manager. Sorry to see you leave. The Town of Harbour Grace recently fired their town manager. I am sure you have been approached by them and with a higher population it would be a promotion for you. Go for it.

  • A
    February 08, 2016 - 16:48

    I did not post the comment under the name "A" as read....."Their actions speak loudly for the facts." Whoever posted that comment under my name is now using a lie to promote their agenda. How low can you go, impostor?

  • A
    February 08, 2016 - 14:13

    Mr Political Watcher, it seems unfair to judge the whole lot including the 20 volunteers as getting their jollies, for you were not there and you have no idea exactly how those volunteers thought or felt about it, and exactly why they resigned. A female councillor also resigned who was not there. As of present, the full story has not yet been totally revealed. Get ALL of the facts straight, first, not here say.

    • A
      February 08, 2016 - 14:57

      Their actions speak loudly for the facts.

    • We're waiting!
      February 08, 2016 - 16:05

      The "facts" have not been forthcoming! These are the facts as we know them: 1. A woman was sexually harassed at the workplace. The allegations were confirmed and dealt with,. End of that part of the story. 2. The mayor apologized to the victim (and she was a victim) of the sexual harassment. End of that part of the story. 3. A senior firefighter (not fireman) basically came out undid what the mayor tried to do by continuing to attack the victim. 4. Nobody has come out to defend the firefighters with any amount of merit. (Standing on the side of the road ranting and roaring is NOT a defense. Just saying.) 5. If there is another side to the story it should be told. (Hiding behind the "They might have been advised by their lawyer not to say anything" is, well, I call BS. A lawyer would have advocated for them I would think. I mean what else would they be paying a lawyer for?) I don't know any of the parties involved. All I know is that a woman was sexually harassed and that is unacceptable in any way, shape or form. I think most are hoping that people (not just the residents of Spaniard's Bay) learn from what happened and move forward not backward. BTW I was not there, were you?.

    • SkepticalNewfoundlander
      February 10, 2016 - 11:21

      @We're waiting The other side of the story was told when the senior fire fighter "attacked the victim". Only the small piece the media wanted for ammunition was publicized. Two incidents of sexual harassment by two people are being used to convict 20+ people. This is a witch hunt and the firefighters and anyone else connected to it would be well advised to stay silent. Any thing they say will be used to attack them, weather they did anything wrong or not. They are all guilty by association. And if you're going to blame the 20 fire fighters just for being in the room, blame Seymour and her husband as well. They were in the room and neither of them objected or tried to stop it at the time, just like the rest.

  • A
    February 08, 2016 - 13:29

    If it has become the case where rightly or wrongly that paranoia has set in where one might think they have to walk on eggshells for fear of saying or doing something that may be perceived as improper, then it would not be surprising that one would not want to be a part of such a work environment.

  • Just Saying...
    February 08, 2016 - 11:55

    In the last 3 weeks we have lost a longtime, well respected councilor in Ms. Collins, a large group of dedicated volunteers - the Fire Deptartment, a municipal enforcement officer who was on the job for a total of five weeks - Mr. Smith, and now the town's top employee - the hardworking and dedicated Mr Ryan.

  • roy206
    February 08, 2016 - 10:16

    The latest sad....all over 23 seconds of porn....You people of SB don't see a bargain when it stares you in the face..20 volunteers and a long time employee out the door for porn.....Why didn't Brenda just call him an ASSHOLE in the meeting and move on...It was a joke... The mob mentality of SB,???? I believe the majority are with me but silent.....It was joke gone bad, move on..

    • Political Watcher
      February 08, 2016 - 13:39

      Roy206, are you for real? A joke! It is not acceptable to show porn in any public setting let along in a professional training session. If that is how 20 volunteers get their jollies then I say good riddance to them. May not be the best people serving in any responsible capacity. The Town Manager is a victim as he himself did very little about the situation until it was made public. If my wife or daughter attended a training session and this happened i would go tooth and nail to see those responsible are dealt with. Time for you to come on into the 21st century.

    • Joanne
      February 08, 2016 - 14:53

      roy206.........why didn't the fire chief step up as a leader, and say "no porn in my firehouse training". But of course its easier to blame the 1 lone female, already struggling trying to be accepted by the boys firefighting club, then to blame the leader(s) who let it happen. I hate to tarnish all the men in SB with the same brush, but clearly there is a large number of men in that town that need to grow a set of balls, and start acting like real men, not the backward chauvinist's they are displaying themselves as to the world. Have they even given thought to the fact they are teaching their own daughters (and sons), that by being a woman, they consider you less of a human being. And these young girls will be excepting of that, as that is what their fathers would have taught them. SB needs to stop breeding that mentality.

    • eggshells
      February 09, 2016 - 14:02

      So true so true. The only other direction for the best of the community would be for Brenda Seymour to step aside unless she is only in this for her benefit alone.

  • Katy
    February 08, 2016 - 10:16

    Update: Why is Brenda Seymour the only female firefighter in that community? There was another experienced firefighter named Barb Hutchings who fought from 2007 to 2009 to join. She had to prove she lived in Spaniard's Bay. ( What happened to her? What does she have to say about this mess? Are these the only two women who applied? How many experienced men apply and are rejected each year?

  • Katy
    February 08, 2016 - 10:08

    Why is she the only female firefighter in that community? There was another just a couple of years ago. What happened to her? What does she have to say about this mess?

    • just sayin'
      February 08, 2016 - 13:07

      Maybe she has nothing to say on the current matter, you should not bring other people's names in to any debacle. Another problem in small towns, other people's business isn't everyone's business. Not saying you aren't making valid points but your method of saying it crosses the line.