An update on my complaint against Maple Ridge CAO and the municipalities potential lawsuit against me

June 27, 2013

Hello Everyone!

I wanted to connect with and thank everyone for their support while I continue to challenge the status quo for the purpose of transparency and accountability. I was elected to represent the citizens of Maple Ridge and I will continue to do so regardless of obstacles put in front of me.

Many of you have requested exact details about my formal complaint against the District CAO, and my request for the Mayor to suspend the CAO under Section 151(1) of the Community Charter which reads:

151 (1) The mayor must suspend a municipal officer or employee if the mayor considers this necessary.

It is my position that a failure by the Mayor to act is sanctioning the CAO’s actions as appropriate. Further to that, I’ve been advised that as the charges are serious, I should not speak publicly about the specifics of the HR complaint until the time to do so is appropriate.

My complaint was first discussed on June 10 and filed formally with Human Resources on June 16. On June 18, I was informed by the Mayor that the taped proceedings of a Committee of the Whole meeting on June 17 had been removed from the District website and sent directly, and without my knowledge, to the municipalities lawyer to determine if there were grounds for defamation of character charges against me. I was stunned to learn this. To date, I have been denied a copy of the tape in order to enable me to seek my own legal advice. I have been informed today by District staff that to obtain a copy of the tape, I must file a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to try and obtain the video.

Someone who was aware of the tape, and the request by the municipality for legal advice, had shared the details with the press as of Friday, June 21. I believe this was a deliberate attempt to discredit me, which is why I have chosen to respond to the press. The press should ask why the Mayor hasn’t immediately taken action and why I’m not being provided access to important information and resources.

I believe that I have performed my duties with integrity and respect. I am frustrated at the lack of support and the constant criticism of my desire for answers. My Great-Great-Grandfather Robert Gillespie, who was from Whonnock, fought in WW1 to defend our right to democracy and to open debate. Now, nearly one hundred years later, there is an apparent unwillingness by certain individuals to allow me to participate in discussions for which I constitute elected representation.

Having mentally replayed the events and finally now viewing the tape, it confounds me how my actions constitute any grounds for defamation of character charges. While I am not a lawyer, I can’t for the life of me understand these allegations.

Once again, thank you so much for your support, it means the world to me.  If you’d like to connect with me or have any questions feel free to contact me directly on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

Corisa Bell

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