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Regional district will have to wait to probe loose-lipped colleague

November 19, 2015 - 3:16 PM

'THIS PROCESS HAS... GONE OFF THE RAILS COMPLETELY'

KELOWNA - A Central Okanagan Regional District hearing on the conduct of one of its members was postponed today due to an issue of procedural fairness, prompting new allegations and finger pointing among directors.

Today’s hearing was supposed to determine if Central Okanagan East director Patty Hanson breached confidentiality and if directors determined she did, whether they would censure her or even sanction her.

But Hanson showed today she isn’t going to make this easy. First, she handed directors a letter from her lawyer, which forced an hour-long delay so the rest of the board could discuss it with the regional district’s lawyer. The letter wasn’t made public but board chair Gail Given said among the contents was a contention the hearing itself shouldn’t be made public.

Then, once directors determined they would push on with the hearing, West Kelowna director Doug Findlater gave Hanson an out by asking her if she would prefer to have legal representation at the hearing. She said yes and the hearing was later postponed.

None of the directors explained why that question wasn’t asked before the hearing, especially since this has been dragging on since August. That's when Okanagan Film Commissioner Jon Summerland said Hanson professed to tell him details from a confidential workshop the board held in May. According to Summerland, she suggested he should be worried about his future because no other directors supported the film commission.

Directors say that wasn’t true anyway.

All directors from the City of Kelowna voted against postponing the hearing today while Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran voiced his frustration.

"Director Hanson had ample opportunity to have representation and chose not to and by the sounds of it, arrived this morning with every intention of proceeding,” he said. "This whole process was to take place to find out whether or not confidential information from meetings was disclosed to members of the public…. Now this has really blown up into something far greater than that and I believe this process has in my opinion gone off the rails completely.”

But Hanson got support from Central Okanagan West director Wayne Carson who said the matter should have been solved weeks ago.

“I am really disappointed that this has even come to this point here. We have wasted hours on this and I do not understand why this wasn’t handled in a meeting between the chair, the CAO, Director Hanson and Mr. Summerland when this issue first came up and we could have avoided all of this.”

The hearing was postponed to an undefined future date when Hanson can arrange to have a lawyer available.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones at mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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