— CUPE Local 401

CUPE suggests punishment in Qualicum Beach dog poo incident

Open letter in response to Qualicum Beach councillor’s apology

In an open letter to Qualicum Beach town council, CUPE president Local 401 Blaine Gurrie is asking Coun. Neil Horner be suspended from any committee appointments for a period of time.

The letter is in response to Horner’s public apology to bylaw enforcement officer Don Marshall at a regular council meeting Oct. 2.

At the meeting, Horner gave a detailed account of his actions of leaving a bag of dog poo on Marshall’s desk.

As a town employee, Marshall is represented by Canadian Union of Public Employees.

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The letter from Gurriesays this wasn’t the first interaction between Horner and Marshall related to Marshall’s work as a bylaw officer.

“Don was subjected to a pretty harsh and very demeaning act of overt hostility while doing his job for the Town,” Gurrie wrote in the letter which was sent to The NEWS Friday (Oct. 6).

“While it’s not uncommon for there sometimes to be incidences of anger when working in our communities there has never been one committed by a sitting council member against a staff member quite like this to anyone’s knowledge that we can locate.”

In the letter, Gurrie did commend the management of Qualicum Beach for taking the incident seriously, but added CUPE didn’t agree that the incident should have become a public matter.

Gurrie said Marshall had provided a “comprehensive letter” to council through management detailing the incident and the circumstances leading up to it. Gurrie also said the letter wasn’t provided to council according to their sources.

“Management seems to believe they can address the issue without council needing to hear the story from both sides,” Gurrie said.

“We are calling on council to be fair, review the statements from both parties to the complaint and then use your power of Censure to deal with one of your own.”

Gurrie then went on to suggest removal from any committee appointments for a period of time as “that would match discipline that our members have faced for far less.”

Gurrie added this was no joke and for council to take the matter seriously.

The NEWS reached out to town CAO Daniel Sailland and Horner by email and phone on Thursday and Friday for further comment, but had not heard back by press deadline Monday afternoon.

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