Colwood council is scheduling a Censure Hearing with Coun. Cynthia Day after recent actions taken by her have raised concerns that she may have violated the City’s code of ethics.
A Censure Hearing is a formal council resolution to reprimand one of its members for a violation of law or city policy. It could result in sanctions that limit the member’s appointments to committees and other opportunities to represent the municipality, according to a City of Colwood spokesperson.
Censure does not carry a fine or dismissal.
“The balance of council was compelled to respond to concerns expressed about Coun. Day’s recent conduct,” said Colwood Mayor Rob Martin. “We are committed to going into this process with an open mind and moving forward as a united council with a clear understanding of the line between what is and is not acceptable behaviour for council members.”
The City said it is to work with Day to find a mutually agreeable hearing date.
“We have a strong council that brings together a wide range of perspectives and has a proven ability to listen and come to a consensus,” said Martin.
In early December 2018, Day was arrested in an ongoing dispute with the City over the boulevard in front of her house.
Day’s husband, Tim, built rock walls on the boulevard in front of their home on Charnley Place in 1995. After conducting an engineer’s report, the City says the walls were a safety and liability issue, but Day and her husband disputed the claim.
The City says it was advised that trees planted near the rock wall had fallen on a nearby home in 2017.
A backgrounder on the issue created by the City says the City spent “many hours working with the Days to come to a mutually agreeable solution, including providing an encroachment agreement that would allow the works to stay in place with the homeowners assuming responsibility. The Days declined the agreement.”
In December, the City went to take the rock walls down but Day refused to move from the area so work could not begin.
“I told them I wasn’t going to go willingly. I had a right to protest,” Day explained after the incident.
Day was arrested for mischief but released without charges, based on her giving her word that she wouldn’t obstruct work any further.
According to the City’s background report, the censure hearing will consider two things:“whether Coun. Day’s obstruction of council-directed work violates the City’s code of ethics related to respecting a decision made by council and the implementation of that decision by staff; and whether public comments made by Coun. Day constitute a public attack on the character and motives of staff, in violation of the City’s code of this with regard to conduct of members.”
The City said Day will be given ample notice of the hearing date along with all related information.
“Council members view this hearing as an opportunity to better understand Coun. Day’s point of view and feel it is important that she have sufficient time to review the details, prepare her statements and be heard,” said the City of Colwood spokesperson.
– With files from Keri Coles