London Mayor Matt Brown’s name was trending on Twitter Wednesday afternoon after Brown’s decision to return to work just eight days after taking a leave of absence.
Brown’s announcement stunned onlookers, anticipating a resignation was forthcoming at the snap press conference outside his office. Instead, Brown announced that he was returning, immediately, with the intent of attending Thursday’s council meeting.
This decision came just one day after London’s integrity commissioner, Greg Stewart, released a report to city councillors finding that Brown and Cassidy had each violated three sections of the city’s code of conduct. Stewart did not recommend any punishment or penalty for the infractions.
With Brown’s return, councillors seemed tacitly supportive of moving forward.
“No expectations, and I’m glad to know that we’re back in business and moving forward with City Council,” said Ward 9 Councillor Anna Hopkins.
“He’s got a job. Nobody fired him. He decides to come back and I’m going to work with him to the best of my ability,” Harold Usher, the city’s representative in Ward 12, told AM980. “I didn’t have any expectation one way or another. Maybe it’s good that he has just decided to do so and come back and get it over with.”
During his remarks, Brown admitted that he will have to rebuild his trust with his colleagues, and with voters, but reaction from Londoners would suggest that that is an uphill battle.
London Abused Women’s Centre Executive Director Megan Walker tweeted that Brown would have resigned if he had been a man of integrity.
@MayorMattBrown Men with integrity step down when they are caught abusing their power.
— Megan Walker (@meggiewalk) June 22, 2016
Quite a few tweets directed at Brown made similar accusations.
— Danielle Muma (@daniellemuma) June 22, 2016
— J.P. (@JPLucan) June 22, 2016
@MayorMattBrown you’re not quitting? So, we’re to believe you’ll keep your promises to us? The same guy who broke promises made to his wife?
— Dan Ingram (@RealCanadianDan) June 22, 2016
A number of people accused Brown of being repetitive in his remarks, during which he took questions from reporters.
Nearly every answer @MayorMattBrown gave had him repeating that he “made a grave error in judgment.” Clearly knows how to stick to a script.
— Bradley Metlin (@BradleyMetlin) June 22, 2016
— Coralie Waschkowski (@coraliew) June 22, 2016
— Brittany Isabella (@missbfaz) June 22, 2016
Though the response was overwhelmingly negative towards Brown, there were some comments supportive of his decision to return to office.
— Dr Carlen Costa (@drcarlen) June 22, 2016
@MayorMattBrown I’m so glad you’re back Mr. Mayor
— tearle (@bpmacguy) June 22, 2016
I’m not sure there is a correlation between faithful husband and effective mayor. @MayorMattBrown
— Juror #12 (@LariGer) June 22, 2016
And one comment even drew a familiar pop culture parallel.
— Page Turner (@PAGETURNERTWEET) June 22, 2016