Calgary Catholic School Board keeping tight-lipped about recent discipline of trustee
Wards 4 and 7 representative Pamela Rath was formally censured by the board of trustees in September
A Calgary Catholic school trustee has been formally disciplined and removed from some of her duties after she was found to be in contravention of the board of trustees' code of conduct.
The censure of Pamela Rath, trustee for wards 4 and 7, was noted in a highlight posted on Calgary Catholic School District's website following a special board meeting on Sept. 26.
In the post, it was reported that the board of trustees had "duly considered" the complaint against Rath.
"And having found her to be in violation of the board's code of conduct, formally censured Trustee Pamela Rath, and also removed Trustee Pamela Rath from the following committees and appointments of the board, effective immediately: The Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA), and St. Mary's University Community Advisory Council," it reads.
Neither the board of trustees or Rath will say what led to the disciplinary action.
"The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) Board of Trustees takes all board matters very seriously. As this is a confidential, internal matter of the board, we are unable to provide any further comment," board of trustees vice-chair Linda Wellman said in an email.
Asked for a response to the board's decision, Rath declined to comment. Instead, she directed CBC News to talk to her lawyer, Grant Stapon, to speak on her behalf.
Stapon said the Calgary Catholic School Board has "very strict" rules and policies around communication when not authorized by the board.
"I personally view those rules to be overly restrictive, but unless or until the Board changes them or they are set aside by Court, Trustee Rath is bound by them and faces potential discipline for breach of those policies," he said in a written statement.
"Trustee Rath would prefer to be able to address media[,] staff and the public to a greater extent than she does but has been directed not to do so, and she will abide by that direction."
Stapon said Rath wants her constituents to know that she is committed to her job.
"To serving her stakeholders with open communication and dialogue to the extent she is permitted to do so by the Board, both to ensure that resources to classrooms are preserved and to permit the Board to best fulfil its mandate under the Alberta Education Act."
Mount Royal University political scientist Lori Williams said trustees are publicly elected officials, and voters should be made aware of what's happened.
"She's been stripped of those positions and ... obviously the voters are wondering what's going on. They want to know and it sounds like she wants to let them know," she said.
When it comes to past discipline of school trustees in Alberta, Williams said she can't think of an example when it was this secretive.
"Every other circumstance I can think of where there was a problem with a trustee, it was either publicized by the trustee themselves or by members of the community. In other words, it was public knowledge," she said.
Williams said voters will want democratic accountability and transparency in this situation.
"And they're not getting it," she said.