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Staff resignation prompts CAO letter to Kimberley community about public’s “bullying” of City employees

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Brett Clark, Kimberley’s Manager of Parks and Facilities has resigned as of Monday, leading Kimberley’s CAO to address the community about the “constant abuse and bullying” of City staff by the public.

Kimberley City Hall sign. (Ryley McCormack MyEastKootenayNow.com staff)

The letter, which was written Monday, November 2nd to the entire Kimberley community, discusses Clark’s resignation and the “tough decisions” staff and City Council made around the ongoing closures of the Kimberley Aquatic Centre and Maryville Arena given the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our employees have a right to enjoy being out in Kimberley and supporting our local businesses without being publicly berated,” wrote Scott Sommerville, Kimberley CAO. “As an employer we have a duty to protect staff from bullying and harassment, and staff have the right to refuse unsafe work.”

The open letter to the residents of Kimberley can be found below:

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“To the Community of Kimberley,

The City of Kimberley is sad to report that Brett Clark, Manager of Parks and Facilities, has tendered his resignation. We thank Brett for his contributions to Kimberley’s Parks and Facilities over the last three years. He will be missed by his staff, management, and by council. We wish him all the best in his bright future.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Brett has been instrumental in developing safety plans to re-open the Civic Arena and City Hall. He has worked with various sports organizations to develop their safety plans. Brett had the foresight to improve Kimberley’s outdoor rink facilities this summer, in anticipation of the difficulties in opening City facilities. He has kept the safety of the City workers and the public at the front of mind, while considering ever-changing provincial public health orders and guidelines from governing sports bodies. Brett’s experience and thoughtfulness have guided all of his recommendations to City Council, which have been unanimously supported.

The tough decisions regarding the continued closures of the Aquatic Centre and Marysville Arena have been agonizing for staff and council. The City has issued press releases on the rationale for these decisions, and we don’t expect everyone to agree with our choices. However, staff and council do not deserve constant abuse and bullying. Our employees have a right to enjoy being out in Kimberley and supporting our local businesses without being publicly berated. As an employer we have a duty to protect staff from bullying and harassment, and staff have the right to refuse unsafe work.

Now more than ever, Kimberley needs to come together as a community and be civil to one another. We should be proud of the sacrifices we have made to keep our COVID cases in Kimberley to a minimum.

My email address is SSommerville@kimberley.ca and my phone number is 250-427-9668. Leave me your name and phone number and I’ll call you back. Know this in advance of calling: I am open to civil conversations and creative solutions, I will continue to work towards protecting our vulnerable residents, and I won’t tolerate bullying or harassment of my staff.

Your Truly,

Scott Sommerville
Chief Administrative Officer, City of Kimberley”

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