VANCOUVER -- A senior City of Vancouver staff member travelled to Oregon, “to attend to personal, family affairs,” in late November, a statement from the city says.

The staff member in question is Gil Kelley, general manager of planning urban design and sustainability.

The statement released on his behalf says Kelley advised the city of his travel plans, “and received approval to work remotely from Oregon.” The statement also said he'd been doing so until late December. 

On Dec. 7, the City of Vancouver amended its policy on working remotely, to say staff could not work for the city from outside the province. But officials explained to CTV News this change didn’t impact Kelley’s situation, because he was approved before the new policy was implemented. 

Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung told CTV News in an emailed statement her expectation is, “our senior staff particularly, and all staff for that matter, would follow the health guidelines and avoid non-essential travel wherever possible.” She acknowledged the new policy and added, “in my view it isn’t appropriate generally for city employees to work remotely at a significant distance from the city they serve.”

According to the statement, Kelley has stayed in Oregon and will return to Vancouver, “later this week as planned.”

CTV News reached out to Mayor Kennedy Stewart for comment but has not heard back.