The civil trial between Don DeGagne and the City of Williams Lake slated to begin today (Monday) has been postponed until some time in the new year, Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook confirmed Monday.
The trial was expected to start (today) Nov. 25 in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, and was expected to last four days.
According to court documents, DeGagne is seeking general damages for “wrongful dismissal and breach of the contract, aggravated and punitive damages, special damages, interest, costs and further relief the court deems just.”
Originally DeGagne was to begin working as the city’s chief administrative officer on Mar. 1, but was told a few days before the start date the city would not be hiring him.
For its part, the city stated in court papers that as a result of some events, “the City was concerned that the Plaintiff’s leadership style would not fit with its organization. The City had the discretion to determine whether the Plaintiff was the right fit for the City and made a good faith assessment in that regard.”
Cook said the city learned late Friday afternoon the trial had been postponed.
“It was agreed upon because one of our witnesses was not able to attend in person,” Cook said. “Both lawyers agreed under the circumstances it could be postponed.”
When reached for comment on the postponement, DeGagne said he was disappointed.
“This is very disappointing, but of course family has to come first.”
Three city councillors and two staff members were scheduled to attend the trial, Cook said, adding now the lawyers are looking at options of holding the trial in Williams Lake.
City chief administrative officer Darrell Garceau said DeGagne’s claim was filed in Vancouver which resulted in the trial being scheduled to be heard there.
“Our lawyer will look at an alternative location just to expedite the trial because my understanding from speaking to our lawyer on Friday was that the earliest trial date probably couldn’t happen until at least June,” Garceau said.