October 13, 2016 - 2:26 PM
LEAVE OF ABSENCE EXTENDED
KELOWNA – The Central Okanagan Regional District board has voted against sending one of their directors — who has been absent for months due to stress — on a paid trip to Kamloops this week.
During their Thursday, Oct. 13 meeting the directors voted unanimously not to grant a request for expenses by Central Okanagan East director Patty Hanson to travel to a Southern Interior Local Government Association education session. They did however grant an extended leave of 60 days based on information presented during a closed session.
Hanson, who says she has a note from her doctor saying she cannot work due to stress, has been absent for 10 of the last 11 board meetings. As a member of the Southern Interior Local Government Association board for West Kelowna, she submitted a request to the regional district board in absentia, saying she wanted to see if things were done differently in Kamloops.
Kelowna mayor and board member Colin Basran opposed the request, saying if Hanson isn’t well enough to attend the regional district meetings she shouldn’t be going out of town to meet with others.
Only four directors voted in favour of the trip and the request was denied. Central Okanagan West director Wayne Carson, Lake Country mayor James Baker, Kelowna city councillor Brad Sieben and Hanson's stand-in Mark Bartyik all voted to let Hanson decide if she wanted her district to incur the expenses of the trip.
Hanson appointed Bartyik as stand-in when she was censured and forced to publicly apologize for misrepresenting and disclosing confidential details of a closed meeting earlier this year. She says ever since then she has been exposed to a hostile work environment that is affecting her health.
She continues to collect a salary while Bartyik also receives payments of $90 per meeting he attends in her place.
The board is holding a in-camera meeting today, Oct. 13, to decide if Hanson should be removed from the board. The meeting is closed to the public.
Missing four or more meetings in a row is grounds for the dismissal of a regional district director, according to bylaws.
Hanson told iNFOnews last week she is unsure if she will return to the board but opposes her removal.
"I am on stress leave from my doctor so I go according to my doctors wishes not (the board's) wishes," she said.
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