February 12, 2018 6:22 pm

Langley Township councillor concerned with workplace policy investigation

FILE - A Langley Township councillor is concerned that a lawyer was hired to investigate whether a respectful workplace policy was violated.

Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press

A councillor from the Township of Langley is raising concerns after a motion was passed to hire a lawyer to investigate whether the “Respectful Workplace Policy” has been violated among the board.

Kim Richter said it comes after a Facebook post she shared voicing her disagreement with a decision allowing councillors to bid on contracts with the Township.

She said she also happens to be running for mayor.

In her mind, hiring the lawyer violates the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms.

“Their retaliation, in my opinion, is to try to shut members of council away from social media, and that’s wrong and they’re using this investigation and this lawyer at $375 an hour to do that.”

“[The] lawyer has the right to look at every member of council’s use of social media,” she said.

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READ MORE: Township of Langley councillor wants new rules for elected officials bidding on city contracts

“And it doesn’t even set a time-frame. It doesn’t even say in the last month, in the last year, could be in the last 10 years.”

Richter added there is no budget set in the lawyer’s agreement to cap it.

Coun. Charlie Fox said the decision to bring on a lawyer was made after he heard complaints about Richter’s Facebook posts as well as email transactions put forward from the councillor about a union employee.

He said several citizens had questioned whether the workplace policy had been violated and so he felt an investigation was needed to find out.

“Councillors can do business with Township. It’s all covered in the community charter under Section 107, there’s no question about that. In very small communities, it’s quite normal, or quite possible that a councillor can do business. If you own a dump truck in a small community as a councillor, does that mean you can’t use your dump truck to fulfil a contract?”

Fox says council business needs to be dealt with at the council table.

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