Three city councillors and three staff members are away this week answering to the change of direction in hiring Don DeGagne as the city’s new CAO in February 2013.
On Monday morning the civil trial of DeGagne versus the City of Williams Lake began in Vancouver Supreme Court, with Justice Emily M. Burke presiding.
According to court documents, Don DeGagne is seeking general damages for “wrongful dismissal and breach of contract, general damage for defamation, aggravated and punitive damages, special damages, interest, cost and further relief the court deems just.”
The city said it will not comment on the hearing until after the verdict.
The suit stems from the hiring and then abrupt un-hiring of DeGagne for the position of CAO for the city.
DeGagne’s appointment as CAO was first announced by Mayor Kerry Cook at a city council meeting and then issued in a press release on Feb. 6, 2013.
However, on Feb. 28, the city issued a second release stating DeGagne would 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.”
Originally set for Nov. 25, 2013, the trial was postponed because one of the city’s witnesses was unable to attend the hearing.