September 04, 2014 - 11:30 AM
PENTICTON - A local woman refuses to apologize to city staff about comments she made in letters sent to city staff and council, and puts herself at risk to be sued.
Elvena Slump, 76, has been an outspoken member of the public and has written several letters to local media and city council critical of senior city staff members.
A letter was issued to Slump on Aug. 28 by a defamation lawyer on behalf of the city, saying Slump’s accusations in an email dated Aug. 19, were directed toward specific staff members, including Chief Administrative Officer, Annette Antoniak, who runs the show at City Hall.
"You allege that... Antoniak was an 'unelected... power broker' who was using illegal in camera meetings to 'bully' and 'abuse' members of council," and "'addicted to power' and did not 'adhere to the obligations' of her position and made decisions 'without being accountable,'" lawyer Bryan Baynham wrote.
Slump held a press conference on the steps of City Hall Wednesday, to say she will not apologize because taxpayers need to call out officials when they aren’t taking necessary action.
“I could apologize if I was wrong,” she said. “I don’t believe I’ve done anything wrong.”
Coun. John Vassilaki, who attended the press conference, said council did not know about the letter to Slump or who authorized it—he found out about it several days later.
“Tax payers have a right to question what city hall does and get proper answers,” Vassilaki said.
“Perhaps city staff decided they needed protection from the public,” he said. But “staff shouldn’t make those decisions on their own.”
The letter was authorized by Mayor Garry Litke and the City’s Human Resources department, which was required to take responsible action following a complaint made by a staff member about Slump’s comment, Litke said in a phone interview.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014