Langley council candidate censured after Facebook comments probe

The long-time councillor allegedly violated the Respectful Workplace Policy.

One of Langley Township’s longest-serving councillors has been censured and ordered to take in-depth training on the Respectful Workplace Policy.

Councillor Kim Richter’s actions allegedly impacted the workplace and “members of staff” according to a motion released Monday morning following last week’s closed council meeting.

The names of the staff have been redacted due to privacy policies, and there is no detail provided about the interaction.

The motion approved by council on Sept. 24 mandates Richter take the in-depth training, and also that all council members receive a workshop on the Respectful Workplace Policy.

Richter argued that she was censured “for doing my job” in a press release Monday morning.

“In October 2017 I brought to public attention the fact that a sitting member of council was doing business with the Township. I did not think that was right at the time and considered it my duty to say so publicly, not only in council and to the press but also on social media including Facebook,” Richter wrote.

Richter referred to the censure as a “political stunt to sully my good name,” and called the five councillors who voted in favour of the censure and the investigation the “gang of five.”

Mayor Jack Froese noted that the council is the only body that has the power to discipline a councillor.

The mayor said the majority want to avoid such incidents in future, which is why they mandated a workshop for the whole council when it convenes after the elections later this month.

“We would rather prevent this sort of thing from happening,” Froese said.

The council received a report on July 11 by Donovan Plomp that sparked the motion of censure.

The investigation and follow up will cost about $50,000, according to a press release from the Township.

The investigation was sparked by a dispute between Richter and Coun. Angie Quaale, but the actual reason for the censuringisn’t directly related to that incident.

In 2017, Well Seasoned, a gourmet food store and catering company owned by Quaale, was chosen by Township staff to cater the annual Township Farm Tour.

Richter wrote a letter to council in October arguing that the contract didn’t meet the “smell test,” and saying there was apossible conflict of interest with a sitting councillor bidding on Township contracts.

The Township’s legal team said there was no conflict, as Well Seasoned had won the bid because they were the lowest bidder who could meet the requirements of sourcing their food from the Township. Well Seasoned’s bid was $1,453.76, cheaper by about $500 than the next nearest bidder.

• READ MORE: Kim Richter plans run for Langley Township mayors chair

The dispute created a great deal of discussion on social media, and in the middle of the incident, Richter announced she would run for mayor and made the controversy part of her reasons for putting her name forward.

“Two weeks ago, six of the nine current members on Langley Township council (including the mayor) voted to say it’s okay for elected members of the council to bid on Township work, get Township work, and have their businesses benefit from Township resources while on council,” read an ad Richter bought announcing her candidacy. “I believe this is not OK!”

In August, Richter announced she was ending her run for mayor and that she would run for council again.

Also in November, Coun. Charlie Fox put forward a motion asking for a legal opinion on whether the Respectful Workplace Policy had been violated. That led to the investigation.

However, while it was largely the social media furor that sparked the motion and led to the report, the Township’s press release Monday noted that the sanctions are not “in relation to social media interactions.”

Froese said that the incident was linked to the catering dispute, but couldn’t say more due to privacy issues.

“We’re very limited in what we can say,” Froese said.

The Township is not releasing the actual report that contains the reasons for the censure.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

mclaxton@langleyadvance.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$25 million Fraser Valley highway project 18 months behind schedule

Ministry says information security protocols have ‘evolved’ since construction on project wrapped up

Racism wasn’t dealt with properly by school, says Chilliwack graduate

Woman tells story of being verbally assaulted at school for being black

Investigators comb through Chilliwack house following standoff

RCMP say investigation involves report of an early morning shooting

Chilliwack dad rescues his two young daughters after truck plunges into Cultus Lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

No need to get out of your car at food truck festival in Abbotsford and Langley

Annual event takes drive-thru approach during COVID-19 pandemic

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

VIDEO: Pitt Meadows dentist gets grand welcome home after two-month COVID-19 battle

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Stray dog with duct tape around muzzle spotted in Abbotsford

Pooch has been spotted over two days, but has escaped capture so far

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read