Strathcona Regional District will not cover Cortes Island director’s legal costs

Area B director Noba Anderson’s costs incurred to defend against the petition filed by a number of Cortes Island electors seeking her disqualification for conflict of interest, will not be covered by the SRD.

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board announced at its Inaugural Board meeting on Nov. 6 to not indemnify Anderson.

Indemnification (as per the Local Government Act), is to pay the amounts required to defend against a claim, action or prosecution brought against an elected official.

Generally speaking, local governments have a responsibility to indemnify their elected officials against legal actions arising from performance of their duties of office. It also has the authority to deny indemnification when elected officials have failed to comply with the board’s indemnification bylaw or have acted in contravention of the conflict of interest rules applicable to local government officials through their Oath of Office, SRD Code of Conduct bylaw and/orLocal Government Act.

“No board likes to have to go through this type of process especially when it deals with one of its own members. We recognize the impact this has had on Director Anderson, members of the Board and staff and the residents of Cortes Island,” Strathcona Regional District Chair Michele Babchuk says in a press release. “Its been a tough year with processes and challenges that this board has never dealt with before, and this was not an easy decision for the Board. We look forward to putting this behind us and serving all the constituents of the SRD.”

The board learned from a Nov. 18 Campbell River Mirror article, that Director Anderson is considering her legal options on this issue. The board says it would like to respect her right to any further legal process and will not comment or add any more detail at this time.

The Strathcona Regional District Board says it is cognizant of the role of governance and strives to uphold the rules of confidentiality.

The Strathcona Regional District is a partnership of four electoral areas and five municipalities providing services to approximately 44,000 residents.