Nanaimo council relations a work in progress

NANAIMO – No end in site for Nanaimo city council's work with facilitator.

Relations on council are still a work in progress, says Mayor Bill McKay, as politicians enter a new phase with a facilitator that’s expected to cost thousands more.

Nanaimo city council has spent $50,000 on the first phase of work with a facilitator from The Integrity Group, which was hired by McKay to help politicians get along.

It’s about to continue with a second phase, which the mayor says could cost another $25,000 to $50,000.

So far there’s been no improvements, according to McKay, who said it’s a work in progress but there’s a willingness to continue.

“Our council, they want to be productive. They want to get things done. Having somebody help you determine what tools you can use to interact, to communicate, to achieve some of the goals you are trying to achieve on a common basis, that’s going to help us immensely,” he said, adding that they have an obligation as an employer to see the project through to completion and “you cannot put a budget on that.”

The work is also about creating a “safe and respectful workplace” for employees, of which city council has one – city manager Ted Swabey.

Coun.  Wendy Pratt called the work with The Integrity Group a sincere effort to resolve a difficult issue and she is hoping for a success, even though she doesn’t know if it will be possible.

Coun. Gord Fuller said he hasn’t seen any results, and has no idea where the effort with the facilitator is going, adding that part of the problem is the lack of communication by the mayor.

Neither is Fuller there to make friends; his goal is to help his community, he said.

McKay does not know when the work is expected to wrap up but his goal is to create a safe and respectful workplace employees and council members can enjoy.

“The fact is as an employer we have a responsibility under the law to provide a respectful and safe work environment for our employees and council members themselves.” he said.

“This isn’t a nice to do project.”