City investigating ‘allegation of significant concern’

Mayor Bill McKay said council became aware of the matter after “we were alerted by staff”

An independent investigation will be launched regarding “an allegation of a significant concern” at Nanaimo city hall.

According to a statement issued by the city, an independent investigation will be undertaken immediately to deal with the matter that has come to the attention of mayor and council. The statement did not provide specifics about the incident but explained that the city will provide updates within their legal boundaries.

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“We will continue to provide periodic updates within legal and privacy constraints in the interest of sharing critical information with residents and staff,” the statement said. “We take these concerns very seriously and share Nanaimo residents’ commitment to prudent and thoughtful governance and processes. Council is therefore committed to addressing and resolving these matters in the public interest.”

Mayor Bill McKay said council became aware of the matter after “we were alerted by staff.” He would not identify whom the allegations were against or if they were related to one staff member or more than one staff member.

“It will not affect the ongoing business of the city. We have people in place to cover all positions and work carries on,” McKay said.

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Earlier today, John Van Horne, the city’s human resources manager, said in an e-mail to the News Bulletin that a statement on staffing at the city would be issued. However, the city’s most recent statement did not address any employment matters.

Van Horne was asked whether the investigation was related to Victor Mema, chief financial officer and deputy chief administrative officer, but couldn’t comment.

Coun. Jerry Hong also declined to comment on the staff member or staff members involved or their employment status.

“We have to protect the corporation,” he said Friday morning. “Nothing has been said and has been released so we don’t know what is happening.”

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Mema was also called for comment, but didn’t respond. He has been filling in for Tracy Samra, chief administrative officer, who has been on leave for approximately a month. It has been reported that she was arrested for uttering threats at city hall, but no charges have been laid. A special prosecutor was appointed to look into that case.

-with files from Greg Sakaki/The News Bulletin

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