What mayor said in email to mediator

Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay expressed his opinions about councillors to a mediator the city hired to help its elected officials find ways to work together.

McKay sent the email in March 2015 to lawyer Heather MacKenzie, founder of the Integrity Group, which advertises that it can resolve workplace conflicts.

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A copy was sent to Ted Swabey, the city’s chief administrative officer at the time.

The mayor said in the email that he hoped the mediation process would lead to respect between councillors, respectful debate, better attendance and preparation, and awareness about the implications of sharing via electronic mail and social media.

McKay suggested intensive interviews, evaluation and education with a final session that would establish codes of conduct, expectations around sharing complaints via electronic mail and social media, and offer “solid legal advice to members.”

“To date,” McKay wrote, “some members of council have disregarded all advice given and continue to speak openly about how they hate others, they push hard to convince others on council to hate other members, and conspire to disgrace other members and the mayor at every opportunity.

“Getting buy-in from the majority in an attempt to garner ownership of a code of conduct and established guidelines on decorum will be difficult, but not impossible.”

McKay said Tuesday that a significant portion of the mediation work was completed, but after Swabey left “that work was discontinued.”

The city had a budget of $20,000 for the work, but Integrity Group billed $50,000.

Nanaimo’s current chief administrative officer, Tracy Samra, told councillors Monday that the city has not paid Integrity Group the $50,000.

“We need to be able to verify that those services were indeed provided and that there was something in place that authorized those services to be delivered,” she said.

Samra said MacKenzie had not billed the city for a year, but within 24 hours of learning her contract with the city had been terminated, invoices covering 12 months were delivered by McKay to the city’s chief financial officer.

— Times Colonist

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