General News · 30th October 2019
October 30, 2019 - SRD Board Passes Censure Motions
The SRD Board of Directors held a Censure hearing for Electoral Area B (Cortes Island) Director Noba Anderson on October 24, 2019.
Censure is a quasi-judicial authority that the Board of Directors is given to protect governance and procedural fairness should a bylaw or code of conduct be contravened or a breach of the Local Government Act occur. The Board may apply a range of penalties to an elected official as long as they do not fetter or limit the ability of the elected official to govern their constituents.
In this case, Electoral Area B Director Noba Anderson was called into question for releasing information distributed and discussed at in-camera meetings and deemed by the Board to be confidential. This is in violation of the Community Charter, SRD Bylaw No. 330 (Director Code of Conduct Bylaw 2018) and the Directors Oath of Office. Director Anderson and her legal representation were given the opportunity to speak to and respond to the allegations and censure motions.
At the conclusion of the hearing the SRD Board of Directors deemed that there was sufficient evidence to conclude that Director Anderson released 2 in-camera legal opinions and an investigation report (known as the Peterson Report) without the Boards authority. With this decision debated the SRD Board of Directors passed the attached motions of Censure that the Board felt were measured and relevant.
“We respect that this process has been complex, lengthy and challenging for Directors, staff and the public, but believe that this process shows that the Board takes its responsibilities in regards to governance and confidentiality seriously,” says Strathcona Regional District Chair Michele Babchuk. “With the Censure process now concluded, the Board intends to look toward getting back to its regular business and serving all the constituents of the Regional District.”
Due to the sensitivity of the confidential in-camera reports, the Board is not able to comment further on their content at this time.
The Strathcona Regional District is a partnership of four electoral areas and five municipalities providing services to approximately 44,000 residents.
Censure motions adopted by the Board on October 24, 2019
Abram/Unger: SRD 951/19
THAT the Board disapproves of Director Anderson's conduct in revealing confidential and privileged information, specifically the February 18, 2019 report by Creative Solutions Risk Management Consulting and the February 19, 2019 and March 14, 2019 legal opinions prepared for the Regional District by Kathryn Stuart of Stuart, McDannold and Stewart, contrary to the Community Charter and the Director Code of Conduct Bylaw 2018; and
THAT Director Anderson be directed to comply with s.117 of the Community Charter and the Director Code of Conduct Bylaw 2018 in the future; and
THAT, for the remainder of her current term of office, Director Anderson be excluded from being appointed to any select committees established by the Board or any public hearing delegations established by the Board except for public hearing delegations established to consider matters affecting Electoral Area B; and
THAT, for the remainder of her current term of office, Director Anderson be excluded from being designated, nominated or appointed by the Regional Board to any external organization or agency to represent the interests of the Regional District; and
THAT Director Anderson be required to issue a written apology to the Board acknowledging her transgressions against the Community Charter and the Director Code of Conduct Bylaw 2018 with respect to maintaining confidentiality; and
THAT Director Anderson be required to take additional training for elected officials regarding the rules of confidentiality associated with her position as a Director of the Regional District.
David Leitch, Chief Administrative Officer
Strathcona Regional District
Comment by De Clarke on 2nd November 2019
Actually, I'm scratching my head now because I do believe there have been instances over the years of SRD board members (other than our present Director that is) revealing fragments of in camera information to constituents or the press, and not being censured. Presumably because the information revealed was nothing that would upset any apple carts.
This particular censure motion strikes me as a bit peculiar because there's no trace that I've been able to find of the information (whatever it was) actually getting out in any visible way. It's not like something sensational just appeared in the CR Mirror. So one does wonder: what harm was done that merited censure, if only SRD is aware of the information leak? Kind of a technicality in that case. What apple cart is likely to be upset?
Also, there's some painful history here that colours our perceptions of SRD's press release. Ms Anderson has been made the target of baseless allegations more than once in the last year, including vexatious litigation... so a reaction of "groan, more of the same" is quite understandable. SRD's treatment of Anderson and of our Area over the last couple of years has (for me anyway) not exactly inspired confidence and trust.
Comment by David Findlay on 2nd November 2019
I find several points of objections to the comments already posted. To Ashley Zarbatany: Is the "targeting" of Ms Anderson unfair because other board members have breached the confidentiality of in-camera sessions and NOT been censured? To Jason: In-camera sessions are legal and your opinion that such sessions are not justified is only your opinion. To Elizabeth Anderson: Ms Anderson and her legal representative could not successfully argue that she did NOT break any rules. Perhaps it is Ms Anderson who should apologize for the "trouble caused to our community" by her actions.
Representative democracy is complicated and difficult but it is fair only if those elected as representatives play by the established rules of self-governance that have evolved over centuries. Being elected to public office does not mean one can ignore the rule of laws.
Comment by Ashley Zarbatany on 2nd November 2019
Everyone should write to the SRD to express their concern regarding this unfair targeting of our RD. It seems that certain members of the SRD are determined to stop at nothing in order to obstruct our RD from doing her job.
What exactly is it that they are hiding? What exactly is it that they feel so strongly they need to hide from the public?
It all seems very suspicious. Just one more attack after so many others.
In camera unfair
Comment by Jason (JT) on 1st November 2019
I’ve always maintained that in-camera sessions should be illegal. I have heard many reasons why people believe they are necessary and not one has justified the secrecy from the public.
Here we go again!
Comment by Elizabeth Anderson on 31st October 2019
I strongly suspect this in camera decision by an SRD board plumped with its self importance will have a hard time convincing the majority of Cortes Islanders that our fairly elected regional director has dared break any rules, knowing full well that her actions are always under the microscope. Has there been any attempt to cover Director Anderson's court costs by the SRD or apologize for the trouble caused to our community? Not that I am aware, but they proudly make public their next step to curb our democratic representation. After our director collapses from the fatigue of dealing with such toxic maneuvers who will step up to represent us knowing the kind of treatment they can expect? I wouldn't be surprised if they already have plans who that might be. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong with whatever I have written. I would appreciate some light on this subject.
In Camera Board Meetings May Not Always be Private
Comment by Ian on 31st October 2019
Well let's see the PETERSON REPORT
Comment by Ian on 31st October 2019
Hey someone remind me what this super top Schrect document was all about?
Is it possible to divest of the SRD?
Govern our own island?
"The Strathcona Regional District is a partnership of four electoral areas and five municipalities providing services to approximately 44,000 residents."
900/44 000 is dilute, nest pas?
Why the delay?
Comment by Bertha on 31st October 2019
It is interesting that they chose not to release this until after the assent vote even though this decision was made on the 24th.