More turmoil at Nanaimo city hall, as the revelation of a bombshell email allegedly written by the Mayor caused chaos at last night’s City Council meeting.
A few weeks ago Councillors publicly accused the mayor of secret business dealings and asked the RCMP to investigate.
The next day mayor Bill McKay issued a statement denying the allegations and accusing council of playing politics.
Now the latest shoe to drop is an internal email that’s allegedly written by the mayor and addressed to Heather MacKenzie with The Integrity Group and CC’d to Ted Swabey, Nanaimo’s former city manager just two months into Council’s term.
The Intergrity Group’s website describes it as a “consulting firm of lawyers specializing in the prevention and resolution of workplace conflict such as sexual and other harassment and discrimination, bullying, and other workplace misconduct.”
The email includes 10 paragraphs, each describing a different City Councillor, analyzing their personality and style – and in some cases revealing sensitive personal information, making derogatory comments, and leveling accusations of bullying.
The email was brought to Council by Nanaimo resident Tim Mcgrath, who says it was left anonymously on his windshield, prompting a testy exchange with the Mayor.
“The release of this document is a significant breach of privacy,” said McKay.
“I want you to know before you go on that I will be filing a complaint with the Freedom of Information and Privacy Commissioner about the release of this information.”
READ MORE: Nanaimo mayor faces bullying allegations
That precipitated a fractious Council meeting, which went completely off the rails at one point, when a councillor shouted “screw you” at the mayor causing staff and the rest of Council to walk out and a live feed from the chamber to be cut.
When the meeting resumed several of the Council members took turns expressing shock, hurt, and anger at their depictions in the email – before the meeting ended heatedly with four members of the public taking the mic and demanding the mayor resign.
“Do you have a question sir?” “Yes I do, don’t talk down to me.” “Do you have a question sir?” “I said yes I do!” “Please, can I have your question.” “Will you resign?” “No sir, do you have any other questions?” Went one exchange.
Back in March, seven members of council wrote a letter expressing a lack of confidence in the mayor and calling for him to step down over allegations of bullying against a senior city administrator.
Mayor McKay could not be reached for comment.
With files from Janet Brown