Nanaimo council apologizes to city manager during meeting

Nanaimo council apologizes to city manager during meeting


Coun. Bill Yoachim reads out the statement of the apology at the Nanaimo council meeting on Sept. 18. Credit: City of Nanaimo

A statement of apology to Nanaimo city manager Tracy Samra was read at the council meeting on Monday.

During the meeting, Coun. Bill Yoachim read the statement from a letter to Samra. The letter said on Sept. 11, a resolution was passed during an in-camera council meeting directing communication with Samra.

“Council expresses regret for the deterioration in relationships and commits to working diligently to support you in your return to work and to take steps to foster a positive work environment,” Yoachim read during the meeting.

The letter also said council had received the July report from Vancouver labour lawyer Roslyn Goldner. The report came after allegations of bullying against Mayor Bill McKay and the release of a video of an alleged assault against Samra. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

According to the letter, consistent with the report, council will “adhere to the procedures to govern the interactions between staff and council, which have been developed by the human resources department with the assistance of the outside consultant.”

The letter also said council will comply with expectations for behaviour between and among council members, while in the presence of staff.

“On behalf of the council, we look forward to working together in a manner, which is positive and constructive and seeks to serve the citizens of Nanaimo,” Yoachim read.

Samra was at the meeting and spoke after the letter was read.

“I am very happy to hear that you have accepted the findings of fact and have started a pathway towards addressing some of the findings, in particular, the work environment and for my staff,” Samra said.

She also added that the turbulence at Nanaimo city hall needs to end.

“We need to set these aside and be the professionals that we are and work together in a good way,” Samra said.

Following a question about when the findings of fact would be released to the public, Samra said she would not answer that at this time.

“I think what’s more important than the public’s interest in reading a human resource investigative report of legalese, I think what’s far more important is how are each of us going to implement those recommendations,” Samra said.

“Are we committed to making those changes and how are we going to demonstrate how we’re going to commit to make those changes? And there’s a role for each and every one of us including me in that report so it’s very important we start moving towards that. I think that will negate the need for the release of the report. Releasing the report takes us nowhere if no action is being done at this table and if individuals that have been tasked with doing something aren’t doing them. Releasing the report only will add to the public debate and perhaps put us in a place where change is not going to be possible.”

On Friday, Snuneymuxw First Nation members reclaimed their flag from Nanaimo City Hall. The flag was taken down to protest the lack of an apology from Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay over the alleged February 2017 incident between former councillor Wendy Pratt and Samra, which was the subject of the video released in July. Samra is a member of the Saddle Creek First Nation.

She is now back to work following a leave from the city.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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