PORT COQUITLAM CITY COUNCIL RESPONSE TO MOTION OF CENSURE
The City of Port Coquitlam Council is responding to Cllr. Laura Dupont’s allegations about the circumstances surrounding the motion of censure issued against her on May 26, 2020 for violating section 117 of the Community Charter.
MOTION OF CENSURE
On May 26, 2020, the participating members of Port Coquitlam City Council unanimously made a decision to issue a motion of censure against Cllr Dupont.
Council’s decision was based on its acceptance of the findings of an independent third-party investigator that Cllr. Dupont had disclosed confidential information on three occassions in breach of section 117 of the Community Charter. Council considers the breach of a statutory obligation to be conduct unbecoming a member of Council.
The full wording of the censure motion is provided below. Due to confidentiality, Council members are not able to further discuss the details of the matter or information released to the public.
Council has taken the matter very seriously and would not have taken such actions over a minor error. The actions are directly related to Councillor’s Dupont’s conduct and breaches of confidentiality and not related to any Council policy discussions or positions.
Council would like to assure the community that due process and procedural fairness were followed. Cllr. Dupont was given a copy of all materials relied on by Council in considering this matter and she was given an opportunity to respond to the allegations prior to Council’s consideration of the censure motion.
CLLR. DUPONT’S ALLEGATIONS
After being censured, Cllr. Dupont alleged that there is a culture of intimidation and disrespect at Council and that she is being censured unfairly due to her strong advocacy of the environment and a healthy community.
While Cllr. Dupont has been removed as a representative on some committees, she retains her full duties and powers as a City Council member and has the ability to vote on all matters and decisions brought before Council and Committee of Council, subject to any conflict-related restrictions on participation
While Council often engages in discussions that are passionate and at times challenging, Council is committed to being respectful of each other. We recognize that different members bring different points of view, and there is no tolerance of intimidation and harassment.
The City has in place a respectful workplace policy that prohibits all forms of harassment, intimidation and discrimination. Complaints of bullying and harassment are handled in accordance with that policy and the City’s legal obligations. No complaints have been made by Cllr. Dupont or any Council members to date under the respectful workplace policy.
We also encourage and seek out different perspectives, such as the diverse community voices on the Mayor’s Citizen Advisory Roundtable, which meets throughout the year to advise Council. The City regularly seeks public input on key issues and encourages the public to share the feedback throughout the year with Council and staff.
Council is proud of the positive working relationship between members, which is evident in the accomplishments we have achieved together on environmental and other issues. Over the last year and half, we have worked closely and cooperatively together to meet the needs of our community.
We are committed to planning for a healthy environment and a changing climate, and are proud of the many actions we have taken to develop a complete and sustainable community, which includes many items brought forward by Cllr. Dupont and supported by all of Council.
While Council is disappointed that Cllr. Dupont has chosen to disparage her colleagues, we remain focussed and committed to working collaboratively to serve our community and deliver on what matters to our residents.
Mayor Brad West and Councillors Steve Darling, Nancy McCurrach, Darrell Penner, Glenn Pollock and Dean Washington
Section 117 of the Community Charter requires a Council member to keep confidential any record held in confidence by the municipality and any information considered in a closed meeting, unless or until the disclosure is lawfully authorized. Section 90 of the Community Charter allows for a council to lawfully close a meeting if it is considering a prescribed list of matters, including labour, land or legal matters. A disclosure of confidential materials could have financial consequences for the city.
A motion of censure is a formal statement that Council is reprimanding one of its members for conduct that it considers unbecoming a member of Council.
On May 26, 2020, Port Coquitlam City Council passed the following resolution:
Whereas Council accepts the finding of an independent investigator that Councillor Dupont breached s. 117 of the Community Charter by disclosing confidential information contrary to the requirements of that section;
Whereas Council considers Councillor Dupont’s unlawful disclosure of confidential information to be conduct unbecoming a member of City Council;
And Whereas Councillor Dupont has been afforded procedural fairness with respect to Council’s consideration of this matter and was notified in advance:
- that Council would be considering the matter and was given a copy of this draft Resolution that may be considered by Council as well as a copy of the investigation report;
- that Council may consider sanctions including a motion of censure and public notification of any sanction;
Whereas Councillor Dupont was expressly informed of their right to retain legal counsel and for their legal counsel to be present at the Council meeting in which this Resolution would be discussed and voted on;
Whereas Councillor Dupont was given the opportunity to personally, or via their legal counsel, make submissions to the rest of Council regarding their conduct in this matter;
Whereas Council has considered the submissions made by Councillor Dupont and/or their legal counsel;
Whereas Council has unanimously agreed upon the appropriate action;
Whereas Council has provided written reasons so that Councillor Dupont understands the basis for the decision to address her conduct.
Be it Resolved as Follows:
- That Council accepts the findings of the independent investigator that Councillor Dupont disclosed confidential information in breach of s. 117 of the Community Charter;
- That Council considers Councillor Dupont’s breach of confidentiality to be conduct unbecoming a member of City Council;
- That Council shall address what it believes to be conduct unbecoming a member of City Council by way of:
- a motion of censure on Councillor Dupont;
- removal of Councillor Dupont as the City’s representative on any external boards or committees
- removal of Councillor Dupont’s City appointed designation;
- emoval of Councillor Dupont from the Acting Mayor rotation;
- alternate procedures for Councillor Dupont’s access to confidential materials; and
- public notification of sanctions.
- That the sanctions imposed on Councillor Dupont in sections 3(b), (c), (d), and (e) above remain in effect for a period of 12 months.
- That the above resolution be released in to open.
Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533