Hyack president blames Smith for settlement woes

The president of the Hyack Association says the failure of the group’s former executive director to get paid his settlement for wrongful dismissal is his own fault.

Gavin Palmer said the actions of Douglas Smith and “a few of his dissident ex-directors” that resulted in the City of New Westminster requesting the registrar of the BC Society Act to conduct an investigation of the Hyack Association board has caused the banks to freeze access to Hyack’s accounts.

The city’s action was the culmination of weeks of acrimony between opposing factions within Hyack that surfaced after Smith was dismissed on July 31.

The city also suspended future funding to the association, ordered an audit of its financial records from the past 12 months and took over the organization of events like the Santa Claus parade.

“The city doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of Hyack, and once they do then everything falls into place,” said Palmer.

“The City of New Westminster is making the hold ups.”

Smith believes city council is waiting for Hyack to sort its internal problems first.

"They've [Hyack) made no attempt to rectify the situation, and I certainly had nothing to do with their bank account being frozen," Smith said. "I didn't know I had powers to freeze bank accounts."

After Smith was initially fired, he contested his dismissal and was reinstated in August as Hyack sorted out its internal politics. At the time, he said he’d give the organization a month to address his concerns, which included a difference in philosophies over the direction the association would take in coming years.

When Smith’s self-imposed deadline passed, he pulled the plug in September and launched a wrongful dismissal action.

The two parties reached a financial settlement in October.


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