Nanaimo's city manager has been arrested for allegedly threatening Mayor Bill McKay and a council member, CTV News has learned.

The RCMP's Island District is actively investigating after Nanaimo Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Samra was arrested at City Hall Wednesday for the alleged threats.

McKay said he and Coun. Dianne Brennan had threats made against their lives. McKay would not confirm whether it was Samra who made the alleged threats.

"I cannot confirm or deny that," he said. "Certainly it's concerning."

The city released a vague statement Monday confirming someone was arrested for allegedly making threats, and said it would undertake an independent investigation.

Charges have not been laid and Samra has since been released from custody on a promise to appear in court.

McKay said he doesn't know what triggered the threats.

"It's a significant safety issue," he said.

The RCMP could be seen attending city hall last week interviewing employees.

The arrest comes two weeks after Samra sat down with CTV News for an interview discussing often volatile council meetings.

"I've taken incremental steps to address the loss of decorum and its impact on city staff," she said at the time.

Samra is also under fire after the Sechelt First Nation posted a news release last week confirming it had appointed her as its new CAO, unbeknownst to staff in Nanaimo.

"It's disconcerting, particularly when that employee hasn't notified council," said McKay.

Members of a grassroots group calling for better governance in the Harbour City said the latest investigation is an embarrassment.

"It's very disturbing to hear there were threats made at city hall," said Sydney Robertson of Our Nanaimo.

Samra was hired as city manager in November 2015. Officials confirm that at this point, she is still employed by the city.