Regional district censures director

Patty Hanson directed to apologize and is removed from various committees

It wasn’t a court of law but Central Okanagan East regional director Patty Hanson was censured Tuesday by a majority of her 11 political peers on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan board.

Her crime: divulging confidential — albeit incorrect — information about the Okanagan Film Commission to its commissioner Jon Summerland earlier this year.

Only Hanson and two other board members — Central Okanagan West director Wayne Carson and Peachland director Cindy Fortin — voted against the censure motion and another motion ordering her to write an apology to Summerland.

Hanson was also removed for a year from the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission board, as an alternate from the film commission and from the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition board.

Hanson did not make herself available to the media following the decision by the board and her lawyer, Matthew Blow, said she had no comment.

Blow added, however, his client did have “significant” concerns about procedural fairness associated with the special board meeting reconvened Tuesday to consider the censure motion.

As for what Hanson plans to do in light of the board’s decision, Blow did not know, saying that would be up to his client.

For her part, RDCO board chairperson Gail Given said she hoped the board will now move on from the Hanson issue and get back to the business of running the district.

Hanson was accused of divulging information discussed at a closed-door strategic planning session the RDCO board held last May.

At that meeting, the board members, including Hanson, agreed to keep the discussions confidential.

Following the meeting, Hanson — a former film commission board member who is now an alternate — met with Summerland, who later said she told him she was the only regional director who saw the value of the film commission.

And, he said, she indicated the commission’s funding could be in jeopardy.

“I was freaked out,” Summerland told the board.

Given and several other directors said what Summerland was told by Hanson did not accurately represent their views of the film commission.

Hanson, while admitting to meeting with Summerland, said she was just trying to catch up on how the commission was doing and was trying to “coach” Summerland in explaining better to the board what he does.

At Tuesday’s censure meeting, some directors voiced their concern about Hanson’s behaviour.

“I’m don’t think she gets it,” said Kelowna director Colin Basran in arguing that censure and an apology to Summerland were enough of a punishment.

But not all the board members were in favour of censuring and punishing Hanson.

Carson said while the meeting with Summerland was likely ill-founded, the issue of what she said to him should have been dealt with by the regional district CEO in-house.