Samra loses Sechelt job

Chief says "now is not the time for her to take on the responsibilities of the CAO for the shíshálh Nation."
Tracy Samra says Mr. Mema is "outsanding CFO"
Tracy Samra
The shíshálh Nation has decided not to proceed with the hiring of Tracy Samra, it has been confirmed.

A statement issued by the band council to local media quoted Chief Warren Paull saying:

“Our council and Tracy Samra agree that now is not the time for her to take on the responsibilities of the CAO for the shíshálh Nation. We wish her well in future endeavors.”

According to sources, Ms. Samra signed the Nation’s employment offer on the evening of Jan. 30. The next day, the Nation announced Ms. Samra’s appointment in a news release.

However, that night RCMP arrested Ms. Samra at her home on allegations that she had uttered threats against several individuals, including this reporter, earlier in the day at City Hall. She has not been formally charged.

Where this leaves the City of Nanaimo is unclear as Ms. Samra failed to resign as city manager prior to or after her appointment in Sechelt was announced.

However, she is prohibited under a police release undertaking from attending City Hall and also is not allowed email contact.

Legal risks

Nanaimo council met in a closed-door session yesterday to discuss how to deal with the city manager situation.

The issue is fraught with legal risk. Council members have been warned against making public comments that could prejudice the city and its taxpayers.

An internal city investigation is underway into the incident at City Hall that led to Ms. Samra’s arrest in the middle of the night.

Vancouver-based lawyer Geoff Mason said that while he could not comment on the specifics of the case, in general there are two issues at play in such circumstances.

“First, if the city manager was on medical leave, then the city may be hesitant about dismissing her if they believe that her behavior may be related to the reasons for medical leave.

“Second, the city may think it has grounds for cause for dismissal. If they do, then they would not have to pay the city manager any severance. They may simply be waiting until the investigation is complete to determine if they have cause, as this would save them a lot of cash,” said Mr. Mason.

Samra still on payroll

Until council decides how to proceed, Ms. Samra will continue to collect her paycheque from the city every two weeks. Her annual salary is currently pegged at about $205,000, excluding benefits and bonuses.

In her absence, chief financial officer Victor Mema is acting city manager. He was appointed to that role by Ms. Samra with council approval.

Victor Mema, acting city manager

Last September, the District of Sechelt filed suit against Mr. Mema seeking repayment of almost $10,000 related to allegedly personal expenses he charged to a corporate credit card. He has not responded to the allegations in court.

As of today, Mr. Mema is still not a member of CPABC and cannot legally use the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation after his name as he has been doing.

Disclosure: News Nanaimo is unable to obtain comment from Ms. Samra because she is currently prohibited from contacting this reporter directly or through a third-party under the terms of an arrest release undertaking. See more



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  • All Ms. Samra had to do was to resign and move to Sechelt and that would have been the end of it.
    If she signed their offer of employment she was effectively resigning from the City of Nanaimo, regardless of what she may say.
    As it stands, her case against the City does not look good.
    I would have some sympathy for her had she not messed up so many other people.
    Medical leave my ass.

    • i agree charles… there is such a thing as bad faith and i think this is what it looks like.. there is probably legal grounds for her removal without the additional gift package that was authorized by the gang of 5 either… but, i am not a lawyer..

  • So the stress continues for a lot of City employees, simply because the fumbling five are incapable of admitting their handpicked CAO is out of her depth. If she is on sick leave can she still order staff around, and continue with the binge of fire at will? Does she still have a City credit card? Who is managing this issue anyway?

  • The gang of five hired her to carry out their vendettas against city managers and they will continue to support her in order to protect themselves. I’m sure she can tell tales that would embarrass all five of these law-who-saw-hers.

  • I will repeat my opinion in this forum, too, ad nauseum. While it is true, in my opinion, that Ms. Samra has not shown compassion for others, we should always be concerned about life and health, including hers. I do not begrudge her sick leave. These events would be very stressful for anybody. It may be that her stress will get worse before it gets better, and she needs to be more healthy to deal with it.

    • Samra has acted with malice against city employees including one who served several mayors very well. I am heartbroken for Marilyn and hope karma continues to haunt Samra as long as she lives. She does not deserve sick leave at $1,000 a day. The City should get a copy of the contract she signed with the Sechelt and use it to justify her termination without severance. Samra effectively resigned when she signed the Sechelt contract – unless you think she is so good she could do two jobs at once. I think she is a psych case, but she fits right in to council these days along with councillors who cannot even put together a coherent sentence in English. Every eligible homeowner should defer their property taxes in protest. Force the Floundering Five to resign.

  • To avoid such drama in the future, it would be desirable if future City Councillors should have a proven record of dealing with the public for several years, superior leadership skills, a record of serving successfully on any Council or Board in the past, and not be the ” angry warrior ” type that hinders fruitful communication through personal attacks and belittling others – (whether those others are fellow Councillors/coworkers, or members of the general public who ask questions) – even if they feel stressed or attacked.

    Appointment to this kind of position DOES require outstanding leadership skills on a personal and professional level, responsibility, and character, since the decisions impact all residents, and the future of the city in every imaginable way.. An ideal City Council would have a record of thorough examination from every view point of any item on the agenda, resolve problems in a civil and acceptable manner, and would take great care in the process in hiring of the most powerful and highest paying city manager positions, such as CAO and CFA, instead of making decisions “on the go” because of lack of time, understanding, interest, or willingness to put the necessary amount of work and effort in researching before making a decision- which, as we recently learned the hard way- causes major costs, embarrassment and bad publicity, along with voter disappointment and frustration.
    Candidates who do not yet possess all of the adequate skills, or might not always be able to communicate in a civil manner under extreme pressure, could use their creative energy, expertise and passion to provide presentations to Council to assist them in their decision making, instead of running for office themselves. This would be a good way to contribute, get their voices heard, and learn new skills that may qualify them as Councillor in the future.

    Those of the current Council who intend to run again this Fall, should make a real effort to convince voters that they have learned from all the bad mistakes and prove it by actively creating working solutions for the good of all!

    To quote Jane Goodall: ” It’s not too late to turn things around, if we all do our part”

  • In my opinion, Ms. Samra’s original hiring by certain city councillors was wrong & those same city councillors must be held accountable for this whole mess. They didn’t follow the normal hiring protocols & procedures – they thought they knew what was best. Arrogance should never be seen as an elected official’s prerogative. It remains to be seen if Nanaimo’s voting public will take action by turfing out the lot of them come the fall election.

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