On April 4, 2011, council resolved to retain an independent investigator with expertise in relation to respectful workplaces to investigate alleged conduct by one of its council members. The investigator interviewed complainants as well as the councillor and delivered a confidential report to District of Sooke council setting out the investigator’s findings in relation to the complaints.
The investigator reported to council on a confidential basis, and recommended that council take certain actions in response. These include adoption and commitment to new policies, training programs, better orientation for new councillors, and an agreement between the district and the councillor setting out responsibilities and facilitating council activities.
All members of council received this report in-camera on June 27, 2011, and council members had the opportunity to discuss policies and procedures to improve its practises.
On May 9, 2011, council unanimously adopted six policies, which include a Respectful Workplace Policy and an Anti-Harassment Policy. All council members and district officers will be required to provide a signed acknowledgement that they have read the policies and agree to comply with them. Further, the district will be implementing a comprehensive training program for employees and council members in order to follow up on its commitment to provide a workplace that is free from harassment, mistreatment and bullying.
The district and the councillor, the mayor, and all other councillors have agreed to the implementation of the recommendations made by the investigator, and the councillor has agreed to limit his contact with staff to ensure constructive engagement and to facilitate his full participation in council business.