A municipal councillor is taking the City of Maple Ridge to court after he was disciplined last year.
Gordy Robson, a local entrepreneur and former mayor of the city, is asking the BC Supreme Court to quash disciplinary action the city has taken against him.
Both Robson and Coun. Kiersten Duncan were removed from city committees and from the deputy mayor rotation in late 2021. The city offered no comment about the reasons for these actions.
Neither Robson nor the city will comment on the case that was filed in supreme court in Vancouver in December, but the public documents offer insight into a censure motion against Robson.
None of the allegations in the petition have been tested in court.
According to the documents, Robson was accused of having disclosed confidential information about the city CAO’s resignation, as well as a controversial development along the Alouette River at 240th Street.
His petition to the court accuses Mayor Mike Morden of both gathering information to use against him, and then sitting in judgement of the resulting report.
Robson’s one-on-one conversations with senior staff members created problems, according to the documents. Personnel matters, including hirings, firings, discipline, and contract negotiations, are generally not public information.
Robson’s petition notes he has never seen the report his fellow councillors used to censure him. Robson is asking the court to order council to produce the report, along with all related communications considered by an investigator in the case.
He also asks the court to declare the decision is “in excess of jurisdiction,” saying it did not follow the city’s own Code of Conduct Bylaw, nor the Community Charter that governs municipalities.
His petition asks the court to find that the decision was made in “bad faith,” and is not lawful.
Robson’s petition says he was not advised of the reason for an investigation, what authority it was proceeding under, nor the intent to hold a censure hearing.
He claims the decision was made in the absence of Robson’s own evidence or rebuttal, lacked background information, and failed in procedural fairness.
The city has yet to file a response with the Supreme Court to Robson’s petition. Asked for comment, the city responded: “We do not discuss matters that are before the courts. As such, we will not provide further comment.”
In addition to the court action, Robson has been active in seeking provincial oversight of municipal council conduct, and his call for an Independent Office of Integrity for Local Government has been adopted by the UBCM.
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