A provincial court hearing date has been scheduled for a case involving former city manager Tracy Samra. (City of Nanaimo photo/file)

A provincial court hearing date has been scheduled for a case involving former city manager Tracy Samra. (City of Nanaimo photo/file)

Year in review: City manager, chief financial officer were fired

Courts called upon to untangle upper management troubles

In our Dec. 27 issue, the News Bulletin detailed our story of the year for 2018, Discontent City. That article can be found at this link. Here is one of the runner-up stories of the year:

Events that took place at city hall over the year were significant, if not historical.

The city’s two highest ranking employees would be dismissed from their duties by the middle of the year and their improper use of purchase cards exposed.

In addition to the firings of chief administrative officer Tracy Samra and chief financial officer Victor Mema, the year also saw numerous city staffers fired and a number of lawsuits filed against the city.

Less than two weeks into January, Brad McRae, the city’s chief operations officer, was fired.

On Jan. 31, Samra was arrested, with RCMP Island District saying that nine individuals, including then-mayor Bill McKay, have reasonable grounds to fear that Samra could cause them harm. McKay would later tell the News Bulletin that he received a call from RCMP advising him of a death threat.

In March, the B.C. Prosecution Service announced intentions to have Samra bound to conditions of a peace bond following the Jan. 31 incident.

In March, the city announced it was investigating an “allegation of significant concern” following rumours and accusations of improper purchase card use by city staffers.

Days later, it was revealed that Mema was on leave for an indefinite period of time.

Also in March, McRae launched a human rights complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in March, claiming his rights were violated when he was fired. A mediation hearing took place in August, but a public hearing has yet to be scheduled.

In April, the News Bulletin published an article detailing personal airfare expenses that Mema made while using a city-issued purchasing card. The CFO, according to documents, used a city credit card to book 11 separate flights for personal use between 2016-2017, with Samra approving the transactions.

Mema would later launch a human rights complaint against the city, arguing the city discriminated against his “ancestry, race, place of origin and colour” according to tribunal documents obtained by the News Bulletin.

In May, Samra was fired following a vote by council. It would later be revealed that Samra made $3,208 worth of personal purchases over a 22-month period using a city-issued purchase card.

In July, the city hired Jake Rudolph as interim chief administrative officer.

McRae filed a notice of civil claim against the city in September. He accused the city of firing him because he refused to “co-operate in covering up her misuse of Nanaimo corporate credit cards for her own personal gain.” The city would later deny the claims.

A few days before Samra’s hearing in the B.C. Prosecution Service’s case against her, the ex-city manager fired her lawyer, causing the case to be delayed further. A three-day hearing in her case has been scheduled for March 2019.

In December, Samra launched a human rights tribunal complaint against the city and McKay.

YEAR 2018

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

Just Posted

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit, seeks to raise $8,000 for a play structure to help children remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization asking for help fundraising for play structure

Physical activities have been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, says non-profit

Nadine Mourao and Catherine Andersen starred in ‘Mimi and Me’ by Kitty Dubin in last year’s Gabriola Players One-Act Play Festival. This year’s festival is taking place online due to COVID-19. (Photo courtesy Bill Pope)
Gabriola one-act play festival to be held online due to COVID-19

Submissions sought for plays that adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam at a press conference last year. (Canadian Press photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Better federal vaccine planning badly needed

Why hasn’t Parliament done more to protect seniors and care homes, asks letter writer

Police in Nanaimo hope to find the owner of a Giant Reign mountain bike that was seized after a man was spotted riding it without a helmet on the wrong side of the road on Christmas Eve. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP suspicious to find expensive bike covered in layer of duct tape

Police looking for owner of Giant Reign mountain bike that they believe was stolen

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent and CEO, has seen his contract renewed for four years, the district announced Wednesday. (SD68 YouTube screenshot)
Nanaimo school district renews superintendent’s contract for four years

‘Singing superintendent’ Scott Saywell under contract through 2024-25 school year

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker causes pain and damage at downtown Nanaimo gym

VIDEO: Suspect breaks fire alarm, slams door on business owner’s foot after attempting to defraud her

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Most Read