The Thompson Nicola Regional District meeting ended abruptly on Thursday afternoon, amidst one director’s innuendo that letters were being shredded at the board chair level.
TNRD board chair Ken Gillis suddenly adjourned the meeting, following a terse interaction between TNRD Area E (Bonaparte Plateau) director Sally Watson, Area M (Nicola Valley North) director David Laird and himself.
It started when the board discussed sending a letter criticizing communications to Interior Health brass. Several directors were not happy with how they found out about recent service reductions to rural healthcare. Directors were discussing who they would address the complaint to and it was suggested the letter be sent to Interior Health board chair Doug Cochrane, Interior Health CEO Susan Brown and B.C.’s Minister of Health, Adrian Dix.
“I would advise us to send every bit of mail that we have to the board of directors of wherever we’re sending it to because if it just goes to the chair, it could get shredded,” Watson said.
Some ruckus could be heard in the board room immediately following the comment, though the words could not be heard via Zoom. The meeting proceeded. A short time later, Laird addressed the board with a shaky voice.
“Mister chair, I apologize for my outburst,” he said. “I do not appreciate the way director Watson treats the board. With her sarcastic remarks and innuendo. It’s nothing to do. What you say has nothing to do with board business. You’re being vindictive and nasty. Thank you.”
Gillis tried to move the meeting along.
Watson, however, responded.
“I don’t think what I said was sarcastic. I think that if policies don’t, aren’t in place for mail to get to the board of directors. If they just go to the chair, they don’t go to the board of directors.”
Gillis interrupted: “Maybe it depends on who they were addressed to. That might have something to do with it.”
“Excuse me,” Watson said.
“I’m going to cease any further discussion on this,” Gillis said. “I’ll entertain a motion to adjourn.”
Watson thanked the board for its patience.
“We’re adjourned,” Gillis said. The meeting immediately ended, with the video cutting out.
Reached after the meeting, Gillis and TNRD CAO Scott Hildebrand would not comment. Watson also declined to comment on the record.
Before the afternoon meeting, the board was in a closed meeting on Thursday morning.