Labour relations board ruling forces city to reinstate worker

A terminated unionized city employee will be returning to work in Williams Lake after the Labour Relations Board ruled in her favour.

A terminated unionized city employee will be returning to work in Williams Lake after the Labour Relations Board ruled in her favour.

According to an LRB arbitration ruling handed down Nov. 27, Susan Ronalds, 59, was terminated from her position as senior payroll clerk at city hall on April 5, 2013 following an incident which coincided with mounting tensions leading to the labour strike last February.

Ronalds took her case to the LRB, who conducted a three-day hearing in Williams Lake Nov. 6, 7, and 8.

According to the ruling, on Feb. 13, 2013, the city put out a press release stating it had been served 72-hour-strike notice by the union and that it had paid out over $250,000 in overtime costs annually.

Ronalds thought the number was high and prepared a report of overtime hours during her lunch hour, which she later shredded.

Her report totalled $201,000 in overtime.

When management discovered the unauthorized report Ronalds was suspended for a day and two hours without pay.

She subsequently went on medical leave, and while she was on leave, staff searched her computer and found an e-mail sent to her home on April 28, 2011 with an attached report.

The report outlined the salaries and historical raises of the chief administrative officer and director of finance from 2003 to 2010.

City management testified it had lost its trust in Ronalds because of those two incidents and she was terminated.

However, arbitrator Emily M. Burke ruled the city had not established the essential elements of the incident for which it wanted to terminate Ronalds.

“The city reached certain conclusions adverse to the grievor without the proper foundation, in my view being unduly influenced by the February incident.”

Burke concluded Ronalds gave no explanation for the report created two years previously as she did not recall it.

“She understood the seriousness of a breach of confidentiality and expressed remorse for her conduct of Feb. 14, 2013,” Burke said.

Ronalds said this week the ruling came as an early Christmas present. “I am pleased about the ruling of course,” she said. “Right now I am in negotiations with the city with regards to what the process is going to be. We’ll see where it goes from here.”

The city’s CAO Darrell Garceau confirmed the city is negotiating with Ronalds.

“Until it’s been resolved I am not at liberty to say anything,” Garceau said. “I have a meeting with council and a subsequent meeting with Mrs. Ronalds this week. We’re going through the process of acknowledging the awards and going through that now,” he said.

Ronalds was able to find other employment soon after she was terminated, but wanted to return to the city, she said.

“I feel this is a good thing for everyone that works for the city, all unionized employees,” Ronalds said.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Freya Cockwill, 4, Lyra Cockwill, 6, and Haylee Sigurdson, 9, had some fun designing and painting face masks during the Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy’s Family Fest in January of 2020 in Williams Lake. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Watch for Tribune Reach-A-Reader edition Jan. 21

Read the Tribune newspaper on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 to learn more about CCPL and literacy

Residents are reminded to remain vigilant in following COVID-19 precautions as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Climbing COVID-19 cases prompts City of Williams Lake to increase response level

City leaders continue to press for more information from Interior Health

A sign outside Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake last summer reminded visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Moderna vaccine coming to all six Tsilhqot’in communities within coming days, weeks

Yunesit’in First Nation to receive COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 13

LETTERS: I saw the best of humanity near Williams Lake

Special thank you goes to Tara, who took care of my dog without even thinking twice

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read