Censure hearings have resulted in Nanaimo’s mayor and a councillor being directed to attend training courses.
The City of Nanaimo released a statement Tuesday night about council’s decision following a censure hearing held Monday in camera.
Mayor Bill McKay and Coun. Diane Brennan have been directed to comply with the city’s respectful workplace policy and are required to attend training courses. Council also recommends that McKay and Brennan apologize to chief administrative officer Tracy Samra before the end of the month.
Coun. Jerry Hong, acting chairman, said the censure hearings were related to council’s response to last year’s Goldner report. The report investigated the workplace environment at city hall after a complaint by the CAO.
Hong referenced a letter from city council to Samra last September that expressed regret for “the deterioration of relationships.” Hong said the letter showed that most members of council accepted the findings of the report, but McKay and Brennan didn’t.
“I don’t think you’ve publicly heard them accept the findings and we never heard them either, on the public record and so unfortunately, this was what had to be done to move forward with the report to satisfy the complainant, so that’s why we’re where we are.”
Hong said he thinks council has “done its job” as far as its response to the Goldner report, and “these were just some of the outstanding issues that the complainant had requested based on the findings that were not followed through.
“We’ve looked at the report, we’ve accepted it, we’ve digested it, we’ve now taken the recommendations into effect, so now it’s up to [McKay and Brennan].”
Hong said the censure hearings led to the same conclusion as was suggested in the Goldner report, rendering the process “a complete waste of time.
“I’m sorry to the taxpayers that we actually had to do it because in the end, it was exactly what the report said.”
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According to the city statement, McKay is directed to attend two training courses “consistent with the findings of the Goldner report” by July 30, Brennan is directed to attend one, and “failure to comply may result in future sanctions.”
Brennan and McKay will each face another censure hearing on separate matters; McKay’s comes after the city chose not to proceed with a civil lawsuit against the mayor a year after it gave notice of claim.
“I don’t like judging my peers on this,” Hong said. “We are politicians and the public is the ultimate judge for us.”
He said he doesn’t expect the censure hearings to impact council’s ability to work together constructively, saying that Monday’s decision related to events that happened months ago.
“We’re not doing this out of anything other than the fact we have to do these things and it’s not like we want to do these things,” Hong said.
McKay and Brennan could not be reached for comment.