Victor Mema, City of Nanaimo chief financial officer, is no longer employed with the city. (TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/News Bulletin) Victor Mema, City of Nanaimo chief financial officer, is no longer employed with the city. (NEWS BULLETIN file photo)

Nanaimo’s chief financial officer no longer with city

Victor Mema had been on leave since March and was the subject of allegations regarding improper use of personal expense funds

A high-ranking senior manager with the City of Nanaimo is out of a job.

Victor Mema, chief financial officer and deputy chief administrative officer, is no longer employed with the City of Nanaimo, according to an e-mailed statement from the city. Mema had been on leave since March. Laura Mercer has been serving as acting chief financial officer since then.

John Van Horne, the city’s director of human resources, told the News Bulletin that the city could not comment on whether Mema resigned or was fired.

Mema was hired as the city’s director of finance in September 2015 after spending time as the chief financial officer with the District of Sechelt. He has also worked in various high-level finance roles with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, County of Lac La Biche and was a finance manager with the Town of Los Gatos in California.

During his time in Nanaimo, Mema was later promoted to chief financial officer in June 2016 and in March 2017 he was also named as the city’s deputy chief administrative officer.

Prior to the Monday’s announcement, Mema had been the subject of allegations regarding improper use of purchase cards. In September 2017, the District of Sechelt, filed a civil claim against Mema, accusing him of racking up $36,212 in personal expenses with district-issued purchase card. According to court documents, the district claims Mema only paid back $4,381 and that some of the purchases were made at places such as Edmonton Jaguar.

In late January 2016, more than a year before the civil lawsuit against him, Mema filed a human rights complaint against the District of Sechelt, claiming that the district discriminated against him because of his ethnicity and skin colour. According to the tribunal’s ruling on the case in August 2017, Mema received a letter from Sechelt in December 2015 that demanded an explanation to a number of “personal” charges that appeared their “corporate credit card” when Mema was still employed with them.

The tribunal’s ruling, which ultimately threw out the complaint, states that Mema responded to the district with a letter on January 20 2016, in which he admitted that “at least some of the charges were for his personal expenses” and sought more information. The day after sending his letter to the district, Mema filed his racial discrimination complaint with the tribunal.

RELATED: City fills staffing need in chief financial officer’s absence

RELATED: Nanaimo’s chief financial officer used city purchase card for 11 personal flights

This past March, the city issued a press release in March stating that an independent investigation would be conducted to deal with an “allegation of significant concern.” Following the announcement, Mema had been on a leave of absence, according to the city.

Last month, the News Bulletin reported that Mema had used a city purchase card to book 11 separate flights for personal use between July 2016 and September 2017 and Tracy Samra, the city’s chief administrative officer, approved the purchases.

Neither Mema nor Mayor Bill McKay responded to a request for comment.


nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

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