“Corrective measures” have been imposed on Joyce Behnsen, a councillor in North Cowichan, for the bullying and harassment of a municipal employee.
Mayor Jon Lefebure read a statement at the beginning of a public budget meeting on Nov. 27 stating that the municipality had received complaints from one of its employee claiming to have been bullied and harassed by Behnsen between April and May, 2017.
Lefebure said North Cowichan hired an investigator and carried out an investigation of the allegations, and concluded that Behnsen’s conduct amounted to bullying and harassment of the employee.
“Coun. Behnsen was given the opportunity to respond, but she rejected it,” Lefebure said.
“Corrective measures have been imposed.”
Lefebure said the matter is considered confidential so he isn’t able to disclose the nature of the corrective measures, but confirmed that Behnsen is still a sitting councillor.
Behnsen said she is also limited as to what she can publicly say about the issue, but she has been standing up for the citizens of the municipality for many years, long before she was elected councillor.
She said the Community Charter states that councillors must always consider the well being and interests of the municipality and the community, and contribute to the development and evaluation of policies and programs of the municipality, while respecting its services and other activities.
“This is very important to me,” Behnsen said.
“I see myself as a representative of the people, but when I question staff about their performance on how the public is dealt with, it’s seen as bullying and harassment.”
After she spoke at Monday’s meeting in response to the statement read by Lefebure, she received applause from some members of the public in attendance.