City refuses to disclose settlement in Integrity Group lawsuit

By Dominic Abassi
April 8, 2019 - 8:43am Updated: April 9, 2019 - 12:11pm

A lawsuit filed against the City over a consulting bill is over, but it's unclear how much it cost taxpayers.Dominic Abassi/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — The City of Nanaimo won't say how much, if anything, it cost to end a lawsuit with a human resources consultant.

Court records showed the civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court by Integrity Group against the City was dismissed earlier this month without costs to any party. Integrity was seeking more than $52,000, alleging the City refused to pay for work done in 2015.

"The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties and we cannot comment any further," the City said in a statement. "We cannot comment or disclose amounts paid, if any, for specific claims."

The files indicated the application to dismiss was initiated by Integrity.

The case was previously scheduled for a five-day trial in November 2019, after the City filed a response denying it ever entered into a contract for the work being billed.

The Integrity matter was at the centre of significant strife for the previous municipal administration.

Then-mayor Bill McKay hired Integrity to work as a facilitator to deal with ongoing discord among council and respond to complaints from senior management of bullying and harassment.

As invoices arrived, controversy began when members of Council questioned who initiated the work and authorized the budget. The process was put on hold and reviewed, leading to a February 2016 announcement that the City would pay $20,000 as per an agreement and the relationship with Integrity was over. Based on the civil claim filed, no money was ever paid.

Then in November 2016, an email written by McKay to Integrity was leaked to the public and media. It contained McKay's often harshly critical opinions of each individual councillor. It led to bitter words, threats of lawsuits and claims the entire process was a setup meant to create dysfunction.

 

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On Twitter: @domabassi

— Note to readers: a previous version of this story implied complaints of bullying and harassment were made against the former city manager. That is not correct and has been clarified.

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