Qualicum Beach council has chosen to release more details about the motion of censure filed against Coun. Teunis Westbroek last December.
A notice of motion was provided to Chief Administrative Officer Lou Varela on Aug. 18 to divulge the reasons for council’s Dec. 8, 2021 action. A closed meeting was held on Sept. 6 and the motion was passed by mayor Brian Wiese, councillors Scott Harrison and Robert Filmer. Coun. Anne Skipsey did not attend the meeting.
Westbroek said he believed the matter was already resolved when he publicly apologized for his actions. He questioned the timing of the press release of more details on the motion of censure. He said it came nine days after he announced his candidacy for mayor in the Oct. 15 municipal election.
“My campaign is about the issues which concern the residents of Qualicum Beach today,” Westbroek stated. “ I trust that voters will not be distracted by an unfortunate incident that I long ago apologized for, in January.”
According to a press release, the rationale behind disclosing all the details of the motion of censure stemmed from Westbroek’s announcement to seek another term of office in the coming general local election.
“On Sept. 6, 2022, as a result of Coun. Westbroek’s announcement to run for office, and in what council feels is in the public’s interest, council resolved to further disclose why Coun. Westbroek was censured,” the press release indicated. “Following the censure hearing in 2021, council concluded that Coun. Westbroek ought to be censured for asking staff to destroy records, specifically records associated with a previous finding against him, which determined that he had violated the town’s bullying and harassment policy.”
“Council took this matter very seriously and would not have taken such actions over a minor concern. Council assures the community that due process and procedural fairness were followed for the initial censure process in December 2021 and for the process to release further information in September 2022.”
Westbroek said he did initially intend to retire at the conclusion of his term but he was convinced to run again by residents who asked him to reconsider.
“But that should not result in political retribution,” said Westbroek.
The censure came about from Westbroek asking a staff member to shred a letter that was written by a former employee without council directive or knowledge about an incident that occurred during the Sept. 16, 2019 regular council meeting and was not marked “personal and confidential.”
“No formal complaint was submitted and accountability was readily accepted and the apology has been issued,” said Westbroek.
The town’s press release indicated that due to confidentiality council members and staff are not able to further discuss the details of the matter.