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LETTER: Dysfunction at the District of North Saanich

The B.C. government’s conduct guidelines for locally elected officials note that less-than-responsible conduct includes such things as: marginalization of specific council or board members; mistreatment of staff members; and alleged breaches of procedures or rules during meetings.

In December, it was the marginalization of a councillor through an abuse of discretionary power. In January, the unsubstantiated public criticism of a then-staff member who shortly thereafter resigned. Conduct repeated on another valued employee in April. The mayor’s “end-of-discussion” approach, supported by Couns. Stock, McConkey and Shrivastava, closes the door on ensuring all voices are heard.

Since the inception of the mayor’s OCP advisory committee and sub-committees (MOCPAC) there have been biased comments, misinformation, and a lack of direction. The refusal to livestream the working groups will ensure that these concerns are hidden from the majority of residents. Refusing to allow MODUS to complete its report means that the data has to be re-analyzed, reported on by others, creating burdens on staff resources and taxpayers’ money.

If the goal of this council is to prepare a superior OCP, why not allow MODUS to complete its work, then demonstrate to residents why an alternative is superior?

An OCP achieved through the mayor’s autocratic bullying, done behind closed doors, lacking the opportunity for open communication for all councillors, and lacking in public transparency to ensure accountability, may please a special-interest group wanting to push an agenda but it is unlikely to be something fair-minded residents who respect democracy want.

Susan Rowed

North Saanich