After weeks of being criticized for the role he played in the Downtown Facility and Fieldhouse scandal, Councillor Brian Swanson has now released a statement.
Declining an interview, Swanson has penned a letter responding to an online petition calling for his resignation. If you recall, the DFFH board that Swanson chaired was reprimanded for the way they handled employee concerns, but Swanson was singled out for taking personal files from Yara Centre.
In the letter, Swanson says he only took the files at the request of the senior DFFH employee responsible for Human Resources, but doesn't say who the employee was or why they requested this to be done.
Despite a third party report that states the employee concerns were not handled properly, Swanson's letter says the board took reasonable action when informed of allegations of harassment and inappropriate use of language by DFFH employees based on the information available when the action was taken, denying the claims made that nothing was done.
Swanson's full statement reads;
"With respect to recent events surrounding the Downtown Facility and Fieldhouse (DFFH) I wish to make the following statement.
It was at the request of the senior DFFH employee responsible for Human Resources in the presence of another employee that I received files from DFFH that had been gathered by staff from the desk of a terminated employee. There was no surreptitious action or malevolent intent in doing so.
I secured the material in my home office where at any given time there are a number of confidential city reports and materials. City Councillors are not provided with office space at City Hall.
Neither I, nor anyone else, read those materials whilst in my possession. I turned them over to my lawyer who provided them to an investigator upon request. No breach of confidentiality occurred.
The Board of DFFH, which included a senior member of City Administration in an Ex Officio capacity, took reasonable action when apprised of allegations of harassment and inappropriate use of language by DFFH employees based on the information available when the action was taken.
During the last year and a half the DFFH Board significantly improved opportunities for staff input into decision making. I am proud of the many improvements to customer service and third- party relationships with Curl Moose Jaw, the Moose Jaw Warriors, and the Compass Group that occurred. As well, significant improvements were made to the financial viability of DFFH as evidenced in the public 6 month financial update provided to Council immediately prior to the dissolution of the DFFH Board and imposition of sanctions by Mayor Tolmie and Councillors Luhning and Warren.
I deeply appreciate the support and encouragement from numerous Moose Jaw citizens during the past several weeks. I am also so appreciative of the support from my wife and children and regret what they have had to go through.
At all times during my tenure on the DFFH Board I acted to the best of my ability in striving to govern the facilities in the best interests of DFFH and our community.I will continue to serve the citizens of Moose Jaw and fulfill the mandate provided me at the last civic election.
Next Tuesday, Jody Chell, the author of the petition calling for Swanson's resignation is to make a presentation to city council and renew her call for Swanson to step down.