Draft Kamloops council policy prohibiting secret recordings will be put to a vote

Policy bans secret recording

Kamloops council will vote Tuesday on a draft policy which, if adopted, will prohibit council members from recording conversations with city staff without their permission.

Council members directed the City of Kamloops human resources director to create the new council policy during a closed meeting on Sept. 26.

“The City of Kamloops has a legal duty to provide a safe workplace for its employees, free of bullying and harassment,” reads the draft council policy.

The policy prohibits council members from recording in-person, phone or video conversations with city staff at any location with any device unless everyone involved has given their consent.

Elected officials will also be prohibited from recording conversations with anyone about municipal matters unless everyone involved is aware and agrees.

Additionally, council members won’t be allowed to conduct phone or video conversations with staff while in the presence of a third party unless everyone in the conversation is made aware of all participants listening in and has consented to their presence.

Secretly recording conversations with others in the workplace is already prohibited at City of Kamloops worksites as per the city’s corporate policy, according to an email sent by the human resources director to all members of council and staff in May 2023.

“Employees who fail to comply with these standards or policies may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal,” the email said.

The new council policy is coming forward for adoption more than two months after Kamloops Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson brought a transcript of a phone conversation between himself and city CAO David Trawin to a council meeting.

The mayor first attempted to have the transcript read aloud by a member of the public during the public inquiries portion of the agenda, then tried to read it aloud himself.

The phone conversation had been recorded without Trawin’s knowledge or permission.

Hamer-Jackson said the call took place while he was driving with his wife, who had recorded the conversation on her phone. The mayor has maintained he was unaware the call was being recorded until his wife told him afterwards.

Councillors voted unanimously in its Sept. 26 closed meeting to compel Hamer-Jackson to hand over the transcript and recording to the city’s human resources director. After at first saying he wouldn’t comply with council’s request, adding he'd rather give the documents to the ministry of municipal affairs, the mayor then decided to hand over the items.

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