Area B Director Noba Anderson rejects allegations made in Strathcona Regional District Board’s censure motions. File photo/Campbell River Mirror

Cortes Island director rejects allegations contained in regional district’s censure

Noba Anderson says she is exploring her legal options

Cortes Island regional district director Noba Anderson is exploring legal options in the wake of her censure by the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) board.

The SRD board passed motions of censure against Electorial Area B director Anderson on Oct. 24 after a censure hearing. According to a SRD press release, “censure is a quasi-judicial authority that the Board of Directors is given to protect governance and procedural fairness should a bylaw or code of conduct be contravened or a breach of the Local Government Act occur. The board may apply a range of penalties to an elected official as long as they do not fetter or limit the ability of the elected official to govern their constituents.”

Anderson replied to the censure motion in a letter to her constituents posted in Tideline, an Cortes Island news site, which she forwarded to the Campbell River Mirror in response to a Nov. 6 story on our website and in print.

RELATED: Strathcona Regional District board passes censure motions against Cortes Island director

“It has indeed been a strange ride at the regional district this past year,” Anderson says. “As you know, a couple weeks ago, we saw another chapter in this twisted story when I was censured and sanctioned by the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board for ‘revealing confidential and privileged information… contrary to the Community Charter and the Director Code of Conduct Bylaw 2018.’

“The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘censure’ as ‘a judgment involving condemnation’ or ‘the act of blaming or condemning sternly’ or ‘an official reprimand.’ I’d also like you to know that the jurisprudence around ‘censure’ clearly states that ‘censure’ is to be reserved for particularly egregious transgressions. The trick with this allegation is that the regional district board holds all the cards about what information (or what part of the story) it decides to release to you and when.”

Anderson said she is currently exploring her legal options with legal counsel and is crafting a formal response.

“Given that much remains in camera (secrete/private/not-to-be-disclosed information), at this time I am limited in what I can say,” Anderson says. She did say, however, that:

“1. I do not agree with the allegations contained in the censure resolution;

“2. I did not release confidential or privileged information to the public (or you would certainly have heard about it); and

“3. I take great exception to other Board decisions and practices which remain in-camera.”

She adds, “I can also say that I truly hope that all the information about this long and strange affair between me, the SRD and a few of my constituents, is eventually released to the public. I have nothing to hide and want the truth to be revealed.”

The provisions of the censure motion exclude Anderson from being appointed to any select committees established by the board or any public hearing delegations established by the board, except for public hearing delegations established to consider matters affecting Electoral Area B. Anderson is also excluded from being designated, nominated or appointed by the board to any external organization or agency to represent the interests of the regional district. Anderson is also required to issue a written apology to the board acknowledging her transgressions.

Anderson addressed how the censure will affect her ability to carry out her area director responsibilities.

“As to your questions about how the censure will affect my ability to serve as your elected representative,” she says. “In short, it won’t. I still sit at the Strathcona Regional District Board, the Hospital Board, the Solid Waste Board and the Electoral Area Services Committee. I still have every right and responsibility to do my job serving Cortes and the region, and I will continue to advance your interests before the board. What this is, is an attempt at public shaming… and I am not shamed!

“The district has said that they will not appoint me to future committees or public hearings in other rural areas; although I would submit that fettering a future board’s ability to make a decision is unlawful. When all these frivolous allegations began rolling in a year ago, I was removed from (or technically not re-appointed to) the First Nations Relations Committee. Given the actions of the Board at the time, I foresaw that sanctions against me were likely, and so I phased myself off the one committee on which I still remained – the Strathcona Community Health Network – and transitioned my Co-Chair role to another member. So, there is nothing to remove me from, and if they do not want my attendance at public hearings that has always been the prerogative of the Board.”

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