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  • Caylie Gnyra

Mayor Takes Ownership Of Mistakes



Vermilion Town Council

On Monday, May 6, Vermilion’s Town Council released an official press statement regarding the Special Meeting of April 30, 2024.

This statement covered two motions that had been passed by Town Council: first, Deputy Mayor Kevin Martin’s motion “That Council for the Town of Vermilion apply to a judge of the Court of King’s Bench for an order declaring Mayor Gregory Throndson be disqualified,” and second, Councillor Robert Snow’s motion “That Council for the Town of Vermilion move forward with sanctions against Mayor Gregory Throndson as discussed in closed session effective immediately and will continue for the remainder of his term.”

As the press release did not provide details on the disqualification and sanctions, the Vermilion Voice conducted an interview with Mayor Greg Throndson to clarify the context of those motions.

First, the disqualification: On March 17, 2023, Throndson kicked a door open at Town Hall following a heated discussion in which he was issued a Code of Conduct by another member of Council. In mid-May of that year, a member of Council asked why the door wasn’t working, and Throndson immediately indicated that he had kicked the door. On June 6, Council brought a Code of Conduct against Throndson regarding the door, and on June 20, Council found Throndson guilty of damaging the panic bar of the door, which is the push bar that allows a door to be easily opened in the event of an emergency. At that time, Council asked Throndson to pay for the door and take an anger management program. The amount Throndson was asked to pay was approximately $3,600.

Throndson appealed that case in July 2023 because, he explained, a Code of Conduct cannot enforce a payment from a member. It was not until mid-October of 2023 that Throndson received word that the arbitrator upheld the decision requiring him to take an anger management course but found that he could not be held responsible for the cost of the replacement of the door under the Code of Conduct. On November 29, 2023, Throndson received a bill for $7,129 for the replacement of two panic bars. He has not yet made any payment on the bill, citing the fact that he only damaged one door and should therefore only be responsible for paying for one replacement.

Because the $7,129 bill is now more than 90 days past due and is greater than $500, Council has moved to seek to disqualify Throndson as mayor through a ruling by the Court of King’s Bench. The timeline on this is uncertain, but during that time, Throndson still maintains full privileges; in essence, he is innocent until proven guilty.

There are three possible outcomes if the issue goes to the Court of Queen’s Bench: Throndson could be completely removed from municipal office, he could stay on as a councillor but have his ability act in office minimized, or the case could be completely thrown out.

To summarize, the disqualification indicated in Deputy Mayor Kevin Martin’s motion is regarding the outstanding payment of the $7,129 bill Throndson had been given to cover the replacement of two doors at Town Hall, one of which he damaged by kicking it on March 17, 2023. Throndson’s resistance in paying the bill is due to the fact that the sum, which he describes as “outrageous,” covers two doors, while he only damaged one.

Second, the sanctions: these relate to a number of Codes of Conduct that Council laid against Throndson on April 16, 2024, arising from actions and language unbecoming of a mayor as well as a process that was done incorrectly. Council found Throndson guilty at the Special Meeting on April 30, 2024, and in doing so, took away Throndson’s mayoral privileges, a penalty beginning immediately and lasting for the remaining 18 months of his term. These privileges include running Town Council meetings, participating in committee appointments, and being present in the Town Office without a chaperone.

Throndson has appealed three of these Codes of Conduct because he questions the length of the penalty. He is hopeful that an independent arbitrator who is well-versed in this type of work and not emotionally tied to specific outcomes will determine a length of time that more suitably fits the offenses. He is clear that he does not take issue with the Codes of Conduct being dispensed and took ownership of his mistakes in the Regular Council Meeting of May 7.

“When I was first voted in, most people thought I would have been in trouble and kicked out within a year, but I’ve lasted two and half years without getting in major trouble,” said Throndson, acknowledging his rough character while highlighting his commitment to the Town.

In owning his actions at the town council meeting and transparently sharing the context of those actions, Throndson is hopeful that citizens will recognize that he remains dedicated to doing his best for the town and taking responsibility for his mistakes. He says he is willing to take the anger management course and come to some sort of agreement about the money “so we can move on so we can govern as we were elected to do.”

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