Fireworks at the latest Nanaimo city council meeting are reigniting the public show of dysfunction in that city council.
Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Samra spoke out for the first time Monday night in what she calls an “extraordinary step,” accusing Mayor Bill McKay and another councillor of bullying tactics that must end.
As gardeners polish up the face Nanaimo’s putting forward for thousands of cruise ship visitors expected Wednesday, it is a sharp contrast to the picture of what’s going on just metres away within city hall between two of this city’s most powerful figures.
“I find it interesting sometimes, sometimes it’s just embarrassing. Sometimes it is,” says Nanaimo resident Dale Schulz. “With the whole idea that people can’t separate what’s political and what’s personal.”
And political watchers like Dale Schulz are stunned by what emerged at Monday night’s council meeting. The City’s new Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Samra spoke out publicly for the first time about rumours that have been circling for months, and treatment she says she’s been receiving from Mayor Bill McKay and Councillor Dianne Brennan.
“Mayor and council, community, I am taking the extraordinary step of making a statement regarding my employment with the city of Nanaimo,” read Samra from a statement. “It is apparent in my opinion that what they seek to create is an environment that would cause me to resign as your CAO and sue the city. I have no intentions of doing so.”
Samra accused the Mayor and Councillor Brennan of repeated attempts to get her out of her job. Adding new fuel to accusations of bullying. Before asking that the Mayor and Brennan, abandon these efforts and begin working with her in good faith. But McKay’s reply was quick and not conciliatory.
“Well that’s probably one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever heard,” said Mayor Bill McKay. “Now, I think we need to move on with our business. Thank-you.”
Neither Samra or McKay would comment Tuesday. Nor would the city’s Human Resources Department about what happens next.
Leaving Samra’s public airing on record for people to ponder.
“Now it’s something everybody’s got to get involved in you know,” says Schulz.
With a greater understanding of how deep the dysfunction between two of Nanaimo’s most powerful figures has now grown.