City civil suit set for Supreme Court Monday

Civil suit set for Supreme Court Monday between Don DeGagne and the City of Williams Lake.

  • Nov. 21, 2013 8:00 a.m.

Monica Lamb-Yorski and

Angie Mindus

Staff Writers

Select city staff and councillors will be in Vancouver next week answering to the abrupt change of direction in the hiring of CAO candidate Don DeGagne last February.

The civil trial of DeGagne versus the City of Williams Lake begins Monday, Nov. 25 in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

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.”

The exact financial figure DeGagne is seeking from the city has not been disclosed.

The court action stems from an incident last February when the city was said to have hired DeGagne for the position of Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Williams Lake.

Whether or not DeGagne and the city formalized their contract will likely be the crux of the case.

Back then, the city issued a formal press release Feb. 6 announcing the hiring of DeGagne, noting he would begin work March 1.

However, just a few weeks later the city issued a second media release saying they “decided that Don DeGagne will not be appointed as CAO for the City of Williams Lake March 1.”

In his legal submission, DeGagne said the City’s actions constituted “a wrongful dismissal of the plaintiff and an arbitrary, willful and bad faith breach of the contract.”

For its part, the city states 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.”

The trial is expected to take four days next week, starting Monday.