Colwood council holds a special meeting Thursday evening to consider the censure and sanction of Coun. Cynthia Day following a December dispute that led to her arrest.
A Censure Hearing is a formal council resolution to reprimand one of its members for a violation of a law or city policy. It could result in sanctions that limit the member’s appointments to committees and other opportunities to represent the municipality, according to the City of Colwood. Censure does not carry a fine or dismissal from council.
In early December 2018, Day was arrested in an ongoing dispute with the City over the boulevard in front of her house.
Day’s husband, Tim, built rock walls on the boulevard in front of their home on Charnley Place in 1995. After conducting an engineer’s report, the City says the walls were a safety and liability issue, but Day and her husband disputed the claim.
The City says it was advised that trees planted near the rock wall had fallen on a nearby home in 2017.
In December, the City went to take the rock walls down but Day refused to move from the area so work could not begin.
“I told them I wasn’t going to go willingly. I had a right to protest,” Day explained after the incident.
Day was arrested for mischief but released without charges, based on her giving her word that she wouldn’t obstruct work any further.
According to a report from the City of Colwood, three potential dates were provided to Day for the Censure Hearing and Day was asked to advise staff which one worked best.
Staff contacted Day three times between April 30 and May 6. They heard back from her once, but she did not provide a preferred date. On May 9, a letter from the acting chief administrative officer was e-mailed and hand-delivered to Day setting the date for the hearing as June 6.
Day has served as a City of Colwood councillor for about 17 years and has been part of committees such as the Victoria Family Court and Youth Justice Committee and the Interminicipal Advisory Committee on Disability Issues.
Concerns highlighted in the report have to do with a breach of the City’s Code of Ethics by Day.
For example, when asked to move to allow work to move forward on the boulevard, Day refused and staff left the site. The report says this may be a breach of the Code of Ethics where members are required to show “respect for process” and will not “impair the ability of staff to implement Council policy decisions.”
Media interviews Day conducted with local news outlets are also issues of concern according to the report. Comments made in the interviews may be a breach of the Code of Ethics and conduct of members where it states “members shall refrain from abusive conduct, personal charges or verbal attacks upon the character or motives of other members of council, committees, the staff or the public.”
On Thursday council will decide whether or not to publicly censure Day for her actions and statements. Colwood council will also decide if any sanctions will be considered. If so, each sanction will be considered individually and Day will be offered an opportunity to be heard and vote on each sanction motion.
“The balance of council was compelled to respond to concerns expressed about Coun. Day’s recent conduct,” said Colwood Mayor Rob Martin in a January statement. “We are committed to going into this process with an open mind and moving forward as a united council with a clear understanding of the line between what is and is not acceptable behaviour for council members.”