Nanaimo city hall shown above. (News Bulletin file photo)

City of Nanaimo issues statement regarding censure of councillor

City says Coun. Diane Brennan violated privacy act

The City of Nanaimo has issued a statement about a censure hearing for Coun. Diane Brennan.

The hearing for Brennan was held Wednesday, citing a pair of confidentiality and privacy breaches, in violation of the Community Charter and Freedom of Information and Protection Privacy Act. Brennan has been requested to issue a public apology.

Coun. Gord Fuller said the first privacy breach is related to release of information related to the hiring of Tracy Samra as the city’s interim chief administrative officer in 2015. He said he couldn’t comment on the second, although it was also related to leaking of confidential information.RELATED: Censure process directs mayor and councillor to attend training courses

“As part of the censure we’re simply asking for a public apology,” said Fuller. “We’re not trying to get her to pay the cost of the lawyers over the last two years or anything such as that. We simply believe that a public apology should be made.”

Brennan denied any infractions. She said Samra was hired without an interview or reference checks.

“I objected to that and said that I thought that the public should be allowed to know that the process was different then what was published as expected and that the full committee agreed unanimously, passed a motion that said we could talk about the process and that after the hire was done there would be a rise and report and that would be that,” said Brennan.

She said she waited until the decision had been made. The way she understood the motion, information could be released because the work had been done and she told Mayor Bill McKay, who had recused himself during the process, that he could report it. McKay requested e-mail confirmation, which Brennan sent stating the hire was done and the name would be released once final steps had occurred.

McKay told the public at a council meeting, according to Brennan. The unanimous motion to release the information about the process was done and Brennan said she spoke to some people about it.

“I wasn’t happy with the process…” said Brennan. “Ms. Samra and the rest of them went ballistic and said you’ve released confidential information … They still cling to the idea that there was a rise and report policy and the way I did it wasn’t consistent with that, however that’s just not true because there was no rise and report policy. I was just going on past practice.”

Fuller doesn’t agree with Brennan.

“You need to understand though that we were meeting as the hiring committee,” said Fuller. “We made a motion to rise and report to council, not to the public and so, when the motion was made to rise and report to council, it was not seconded, so that was when she went out and she gave the mayor a piece of paper with some stuff to say.”

Wednesday’s hearing followed separate censure hearings Jan. 8 that recommended McKay and Brennan submit written apologies to Samra and directed them to attend training. Those censure hearings were related to recommendations from a report by consultant Roslyn Goldner, and to the city’s respectful workplace policy.

Brennan said she’s not considering issuing an apology at this point and said she welcomes an opportunity to attend training.

McKay did not respond to a request for comment.

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