At last week’s in-camera meeting of Rossland city council, a resolution was passed restricting Coun. Laurie Charlton’s interactions with city staff.
Mayor Greg Granstrom said the resolution comes after a thorough investigation by a third party consultant and an original complaint which goes back to February.
Granstrom said there wasn’t any choice on the part of council.
“This had to happen,” he explained. “Council is the employer and when an employee brings an allegation of harassment to the employer it’s very important that the employer investigates.”
He said council hired the independent consultant to look into allegations brought forward by staff to see if there was in fact harassment in the workplace.
The consultant’s report came back saying there was and that it needed to be dealt with.
“We went to legal counsel and received some recommendations as to how to proceed with the matter, he said. “You have to treat harassment in the workplace as a very serious matter.”
Coun. Laurie Charlton said Monday that there was actually no motion of censure.
“What council adopted the other night was some resolutions that were put forward,” Charlton said.
The resolutions were based on the report from Al Strachan, a labour consultant out of Kelowna.
Charlton said the report itself had a number of factual errors and there were some exaggerations, but noted it was nothing that significant.
“What it does is put the whole report itself in question. If he makes mistakes on these simple little things, what has he done with the rest of it?” Charlton asked. “For example, he referred to me as a chemical engineer. I’m not a chemical engineer, I’m a chemist.”
In another example Charlton cited:
“He said that I had been on council for 19 years, actually I’ve been on council for just finishing 17 years. Then he referred to the building
inspector saying that I questioned overbuilding permit that he issued. Well, yeah,” he said. “I had some questions about two or three of them, certainly not every one of them.
“So there are these gross exaggerations that are just trying to build up the case, but what it does is detract from the relevance of the report.”
Charlton said the issue originated when he wrote a letter to the editor about a garage that was built on Second Avenue on the city road allowance.
He said there had been no encroachment agreement in place and no variance permit granted to allow the owner to build a garage beyond the setback that was specified within the bylaw.
When asked what this could do to his run for re-election, Charlton said it wouldn’t hurt him, since the community has an idea of what he stands for.