Watch above: the back and forth continues over the suspension of STF president Colin Keess
SASKATOON – It’s been a lot of back and forth, he said she said after the Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation (STF) president was stripped of his authority by the STF’s executive.
Colin Keess is currently in his third term as president of the STF. Keess said on Friday he was notified that he was stripped of his authority after a non-confidence vote on June 19 but the executive says a letter was hand delivered to him on June 23.
“I have no explanation what so ever although I’ve asked for it several times, I have no explanation,” said Keess.
The STF executive says they decided to take the unusual step of confirming publicly that it passed a motion of non-confidence in its president.
“The meetings that took place around the vote of non-confidence were deliberating on the actions of Mr. Keess, which were in violation of our policies of conduct but Mr.Keess had multiple opportunities to meet with executive members and there was communication through legal council as well,” said STF vice-president Randy Cline.
On Aug. 1, the executive passed a further motion restricting Keess from performing any duties or responsibilities of his role. He’s currently on a paid leave.
The executive hoped to deal with the situation internally and say Keess not having a clue as to why the action was taken is inaccurate.
“We’ve actually tried balancing his interests with the interests of the Federation but ultimately we’re charged with leading the Federation and so we have to take whatever steps we deem necessary to make sure that happens,” said Cline.
“I’m discussing with my legal council but what I would prefer happen is that this can be resolved with rational discussion with the people involved and that we can go back to the business of taking care of the teachers,” said Keess.
Keess says he doesn’t know why these measures have been taken but believes it could be connected to an anonymous phone call made to an STF executive member that he says regarded incidents that happened in the 1990’s.
“The matters that were dealt with in the mid 90’s were a totally separate issue, the motion of non-confidence totally relates to Mr. Keess conduct in his current term of president,” said Cline.
A further in camera meeting has been offered to Keess by executive for Friday. Keess says he’s not sure if he will attend.