A provincial court hearing date has been scheduled for a case involving former city manager Tracy Samra. (Photo provided by City of Nanaimo)

Hearing date set for case involving former Nanaimo CAO accused of threats

Hearing scheduled for provincial court in Nanaimo on Oct. 5

A provincial court will hear a case involving Tracy Samra, the former City of Nanaimo chief administrative officer accused of making threats.

A hearing date has been scheduled for Oct. 5 in Nanaimo.

The B.C. Prosecution Service is seeking to have Samra bound to conditions of a peace bond as a result of an incident on Jan 31 at city hall that led to her being arrested for allegedly threatening multiple individuals.

The RCMP believe Mayor Bill McKay, city councillors Sheryl Armstrong and Diane Brennan along with Jan Kemp, Sheila Gurrie, Donna Stennes, Kim Fowler, Brad McRae and Dominic Jones have reasonable grounds to fear personal harm or injury as a result of that incident, according to a court document obtained by the News Bulletin.

Samra’s lawyer, Robert A. Mulligan, confirmed his client’s October hearing date, which comes after the case had been adjourned four separate times since March. Mulligan said because the case before the court is not a criminal matter, there is no trial.

“In our case the hearing is to determine if there is proper basis for a peace bond,” he said.

While a hearing date has been set, Mulligan said it could still change, as there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

“When cases are set … counsel need to continue their work, speaking to witnesses, analyzing evidence, determining whether the conditions which gave rise to the case still prevail,” he said. “There so many things that go on. It is not a static process that when a case is set for hearing that it just sits there until the hearing.”

Samra remains under bail conditions, according to Mulligan, who said those conditions prevent his client from having contact with certain individuals or go to certain places, but wouldn’t say who or where, only that they prevented her from any employment hearings that may have taken place. He said while the conditions remain, they do not hinder Samra from physically appearing in court for the hearing.

“It is understood that coming to court as required is not a breach [of conditions],” Mulligan said.

RELATED: Charges filed against Nanaimo city manager

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RELATED: Court date moved for Nanaimo city manager accused of making threats

Samra was hired as chief administrative officer in 2015 on an interim basis and had been on paid leave prior to an announcement last week that she no longer works for the city.

According to a freedom of information request filed by the News Bulletin that sought information about whether Samra received any severance from the City of Nanaimo, the city’s human resources department determined that the requested information did not exist.

The city’s response to the request comes after Coun. Gord Fuller told the News Bulletin that councillors voted to terminate Samra with cause.

John Van Horne, the city’s director of human resources, said he cannot comment on statements made by councillors, nor can he provide additional details into Samra’s departure.

“The city’s message has been consistent on this, confirming that she is no longer with the city and that is it,” he said. “While individual members of council might have gone out and done something on their own, that is not something the city can comment on.”

Although Van Horne wouldn’t comment on Samra’s case specifically, he was able to provide a general overview of how terminations or resignations can work within the city.

If an individual is terminated without cause, then it would result in the employer having an obligation to pay that individual severance, according to Van Horne, who said there are also situations in which the employer can provide “paid notice” to an individual.

“We could say ‘hey … we are going in a different direction and you’ve been here for a long time, we are giving you 12 months of working notice,’” he said. “But if the termination is with cause … there is no severance. Those are general statements, of course.”

There is also the opportunity for individual to resign before being formally terminated. Van Horne said when he worked for other companies before working for the city, he gave individuals the opportunity to resign before they were officially fired. He said while that happens at corporations, he couldn’t say whether it was a general practice at the city.

“It’s really going to depend on the individual and the organization as to whether they embrace that or not,” Van Horne said, adding that he couldn’t comment on whether that was the case for Samra.

Councillors are currently in the process of hiring an interim chief administrative officer and are expected to make a decision this month.



nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

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