Nanaimo city hall. News Bulletin file photo

Nanaimo city hall. News Bulletin file photo

Former Nanaimo senior manager says he was fired for not ‘covering up’ CAO’s spending

Brad McRae files notice of civil claim with Supreme Court of B.C.

A former City of Nanaimo senior manager claims he was fired from his job as retaliation for his refusal to ‘cover up’ his boss’ spending of city money.

Brad McRae, the city’s former chief operations officer, has filed a notice of civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court against the City of Nanaimo and Coun. Jerry Hong, alleging that Tracy Samra, the city’s former chief administrative officer, fired him because of his “refusal to co-operate in covering up her misuse of Nanaimo corporate credit cards for her own personal gain.”

McRae’s claim also alleges that Hong made harmful remarks about him in an interview with the News Bulletin in August.

McRae was fired in January. According to court documents, McRae, who was tasked with overseeing freedom of information requests, claims that in September 2017, Samra instructed him to deny a request from a journalist specifically wanting a copy of her purchase card statements, as well as those of former chief financial officer Victor Mema.

“There was no basis in law to refuse the request, but Samra instructed Mr. McRae to do so to cover up the many personal charges she and Victor Mema had made on their corporate credit cards and for which the ratepayers of the city had improperly reimbursed them,” the court filing notes.

McRae claims he reported his concerns about Samra’s credit card use to the RCMP in November 2017, before Samra told him about an upcoming hearing to determine his employment status with the city, according to the court filing.

As an officer with the city, McRae was entitled to have a hearing in front of city council regarding any changes to his employment status and could not be dismissed without at least two-thirds majority vote by councillors. However, according to court documents, McRae was never present during his termination hearing on Jan. 10 because his doctor informed him and the city that he was medically unfit to attend such a hearing. However, McRae’s doctor had also told the city he would be medically fit for a hearing after Jan. 17, court documents show.

RELATED: City of Nanaimo reinstates sanitation manager

RELATED: Tribunal case involving former senior manager and City of Nanaimo going to mediation

RELATED: Former CAO Samra was fired with cause, says councillor

McRae’s claim also alleges the city singled him out as the one responsible for cost overruns associated with the automated garbage collection rollout, when he claims the person “directly responsible for the project” was the city’s manager of sanitation, Charlotte Davis, who was fired and then re-hired. His claim suggests that Victor Mema, the city’s former chief financial officer and acting city manager, as well as Deborah Duncan, the deputy director of financial services, faced “no discipline whatsoever” despite approving expenditures associated with the automated garbage rollout. It also alleges Samra herself was “aware” of cost overruns associated with the project in September 2017 and that Davis had also informed her of the overruns.

Samra was arrested a few weeks after she fired McRae for allegedly making threats against a number of individuals including McRae and Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay. In his civil claim, McRae accuses Samra of attempting to destroy city records so they could “not be used as evidence” of misconduct.

A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal claim was previously filed against the city by McRae, who argued that the city violated his rights when they fired him. McRae’s civil claim references Hong’s comments to the News Bulletin in an Aug. 3 article regarding his termination hearing and tribunal case as untrue and meant to “cause injury, loss or damage,” court documents show.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. McRae is seeking financial compensation, including all wages he would have earned.

“The conduct of Nanaimo is deserving of censure by the court and is worthy of an award for punitive and aggravated damages,” the filing notes.

McRae said he would not provide comment on the civil claim. John Van Horne, the city’s director of human resources, also said he would not be able to comment. Hong told the News Bulletin he would not comment, while Samra could not be reached for comment. 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce has asked Nanaimo city council to consider a commercial property tax freeze to help offset negative financial impacts of COVID-19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo council asks for report on potential one-year commercial property tax freeze

Report based on chamber of commerce proposal to ease COVID-19 stress on business community

Literacy Central Vancouver Island’s IPALS program – parents as literacy supporters in immigrant communities – recently secured another five years of funding from senior levels of government. (Photo submitted)
Literacy program working for immigrant families in Nanaimo

Literacy Central Vancouver Island’s IPALS program sees funding extended another five years

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen to field COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing leads to stabbing in Nanaimo

Suspect arrested on Gabriola Island an hour after incident Wednesday, Feb. 24

The Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express fleet will be able to move to a new depot facility after receiving more than $187,000 of community economic recovery infrastructure program money from the Province of B.C. (Submitted photo)
Gabriola bus system receives $188,000 from province for depot building

Old fire hall to be retrofitted and serve as new bus terminal thanks to COVID-19 recovery funding

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Ella Donovan with mom Tina outside Fuller Lake Arena before heading onto the ice for practice. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Young Ladysmith skater watches and waits in battle against cancer

Ella Donovan’s tumour began a tumultuous time, but community support eased the burden

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read