Nanaimo CAO alleges assault, hostile working environment at City Hall

By Dominic Abassi
July 31, 2017 - 6:54pm

CAO Tracy Samra released a statement Monday alleging mayor Bill McKay and others created a hostile work environment.City of Nanaimo

NANAIMO — A personal statement and video of an alleged assault released by Nanaimo's city manager is thrusting past drama into the spotlight once again.

Hours after being contacted by NanaimoNewsNOW for comment on a public blow-up, Tracy Samra issued a statement alleging an independent consultant's report received by council on July 20 "confirmed that the conduct of Mayor Bill McKay, coun. Diane Brennan and former coun. Wendy Pratt has created a hostile work environment."

Samra also sent a link to a YouTube video allegedly showing coun. Pratt assaulting her in a closed meeting in February 2017.

 

Samra claimed the consultant's investigation began following complaints she filed under respectful workplace and violence in the workplace policies.

"I filed this complaint...so there would be a mechanism for this to stop, and to get mayor McKay to stop targeting me," Samra's statement said, adding McKay "consistently made defamatory remarks about me in the media over the last 20 months calling into question my capabilities to do the job and my ethics."

Mayor Bill McKay told NanaimoNewsNOW council has reviewed the report, which he confirmed was the result of a complaint filed by Samra.

"Ms. Samra's presentation of the facts to you in the press release are incorrect," McKay said. "I'm going to say unequivocally that her statements of fact are in my view incorrect. It's not what the report says."

However, McKay declined to offer any insight into the report's findings. "At this point, it's a confidential (human resources) report and we just simply don't release details of those. I'm extremely surprised Ms. Samra would."

Acting chief administrative officer Victor Mema said Samra's statement was not sanctioned by the City. He also declined to speak to the contents of the report referenced by Samra. He said the release was "obviously problematic."

"We have an expectation that things that are held in-camera are held in-confidence until they are released," Mema said. "Our expectation is that this is a matter council will have to deal with at some point."

Mema confirmed Samra is on leave indefinitely following an incident on July 26 where she yelled obscenities in the lobby of a city building. Mema said several complaints were filed by staff in relation to the outburst.

Samra previously went on leave following the alleged assault by Pratt. The video of the supposed confrontation was published on YouTube on Sunday under an account attributed to Bailey M, the only video posted by the account.

In March, the Criminal Justice Branch announced a special prosecutor had been investigating Nanaimo council since December of last year. In the announcement, it said a council member was arrested and released with conditions for an alleged offence. Coun. Pratt resigned on April 7. The Justice Branch has declined several requests for comment on whether charges were laid.

Samra was contacted for further comment but did not respond by late Monday evening.

 

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On Twitter: @domabassi

Nanaimo CAO Samra on leave following profane public outburst