Can't quit, you're fired: Gander council votes councillor out of office despite resignation

Can't quit, you're fired: Gander council votes councillor out of office despite resignation

The town council in Gander voted to kick Wayne Lorenzen out of office over a Conflict of Interest complaint — a complaint which led to his resignation last month.

Council did not accept his resignation and, on the advice of legal council, held a private hearing on Tuesday to discuss the complaint.

Council voted to pass a motion to remove Lorenzen from council at a public meeting on Wednesday. 

"I'm devastated," said Lorenzen, who sat in the public gallery during the council meeting. 

A press release issued after the council meeting stated that the vote came "as a result of a complaint that council received from a resident earlier this year."

The person alleged Lorenzen voted on a tax agreement between the Town of Gander and his employer at the time, Nav Canada, during a council meeting in 2015. 

Lorenzen said he was in a conflict of interest and submitted his resignation to the town on March 31st.

"There was no doubt I was an employee of Nav Canada when I made that vote," said Lorenzen. "There was no monitorial gain as an employee of protected by a collective agreement."

Lorenzen voted along with council in a unanimous decision to change the tax agreement for Nav Canada.

"That mistake I made, I resigned because of it," said Lorenzen. 

Appeal or Ban?

Lorenzen said the decision by council to vote out him of office means he will also be banned from running for council for two years.

"Essentially it's a four year ban for me," said Lorenzen, who assumed resigning would allow him to run in the election and let the voters decide. 

He said his resignation was not an attempt to circumvent the ban. 

"It wasn't just a ploy so I could run again in the fall, I felt like I had an obligation to do [so]," said Lorenzen. 

He now has to decide if he will appeal council's decision.

He has 21 days to file an appeal. 

"You know, the appeal aspect is there," said Lorenzen. "Unfortunately in today's society it's how deep your pockets are, how far you could pursue something."

Deputy Mayor Cyril Abbot read the motion in council, but added council would not comment on the matter until after the appeal deadline has been passed.