TOP TEN WORST DECISIONS BY THIS BOARD AND WHO VOTED FOR/AGAINST THEM
Submitted by Rick Williamson
Over the last 3 years, this Board has made many, many decisions that I consider to be inappropriate and following is a recap of the “Top Ten” of these decisions.
Narrowing it down to ten was tough for me, so here are two, while not cracking the Top Ten, definitely rate an “honourable mention”:
(A) One day after the Park’s Accountant was arrested and charged with defrauding his former employer of $850,000 (a charge he later pled guilty to), the Board issued a Press Release advising that Staff (presumably this means Ron Campbell) had done a “thorough review” of all park financial stuff and everything was OK. As it turns out, everything was not OK as the Accountant also defrauded the Park of $$ as well.
(B) Ron Campbell, CAO has stated that The Cultus Lake Park Act (CLPA) does not apply to Sunnyside Campground as Sunnyside is not specifically described in the CLPA and so is not part of the Park. Now if it is true that the CLPA does not apply, why would the Board cite the CLPA as giving it authority to enact the Sunnyside Campground Bylaw? This statement by Campbell, if true, has many, many far-reaching impacts that go well beyond the Campground. For some reason, Campbell and the Board are not willing to share the alleged legal opinion that they say they are using as justification for their position.
And now on to the Top Ten
Hopefully, this recap will assist you in making an informed decision when you cast your ballot in November. Full details of the items below have been previously reported.
As this is to assist you when voting, I have only included the voting records of Commissioners who are seeking re-election. All voting records were taken from Board-approved meeting minutes posted on the Board’s website and I have listed the meeting date. In the interests of keeping this as short as possible, I have paraphrased the issues/motions below, but full details are available in the Board minutes.
With apologies to David Letterman, here is tonight’s Top Ten List
Tonight’s category: The Top Ten Bad Decisions by the current Cultus Lake Park Board
#10: May 28, 2014 Motion to appoint Ron Campbell, CAO as Deputy Election Officer, reporting in this election role to his subordinate, Christine Woodward. Motion was passed. (personally, I believe this was an obvious conflict having Campbell report to his subordinate in this crucial election role) **
Voting in favour of Campbell’s appointment: Carleton Toews
Voting against Campbell’s appointment: Larry Payeur & Malcolm Shanks
Charlotte Hall was absent
** Campbell’s appointment was rescinded at a later meeting due to what Chair Sacha Peter said was “an abundance of caution.”
#9: Motion to change how meeting minutes are recorded for Public Question Period, so that only the topic is recorded in the minutes, not the actual questions and answers, thereby avoiding any individual accountability for answers given. Motion was defeated
Voting in favour of topic only: Hall & Toews
Voting against topic only: Shanks
Payeur was absent
#8: Feb. 22, 2012 Motion that Staff provide the Board with year-end financial statements showing actual vs budget. Motion was defeated.
Voting in favour of getting Year-end Actual vs Budget statements: Shanks
Voting against getting Year-end Actual vs Budget statements: Hall & Toews
Payeur was absent
#7: Feb. 8, 2012 Motion to deny Commissioner Shanks from receiving documents that Staff was legally required to give him (per BC’s Freedom of Information Act). Motion to deny Shanks was passed.
Voting in favour of giving Shanks the documents: Shanks
Voting to deny Shanks the documents: Hall & Toews
Payeur was absent
#6: Aug. 14, 2013 Motion that Commissioners must be factual when being interviewed by the media. Motion was defeated.
Voting in favour of being factual with the media: Payeur & Shanks
Voting against being factual with the media: Toews
Hall was absent
#5: Several motions passed on numerous occasions (for just one example, see the Jan. 27, 2014 Special Meeting) approving Bylaws with fines in excess of the $50 limit set in the Cultus Lake Park Act: (note – these were passed even though Ron Campbell, CAO stated the Board cannot do so legally.)
Voting in favour of fines over $50: Hall & Toews (*)
Voting against fines over $50: Payeur & Shanks
(*) I am aware of two instances where Payeur voted in favour and for one of these he attempted, unsuccessfully, to get it reversed at the next meeting
#4: Sept. 11, 2013 Motion to dissolve the Core Services Committee shortly after the Park Accountant was arrested and charged with defrauding his previous employer of $850,000 and before the Committee could make any recommendations for reducing Park expenses. (It turns out this Accountant also defrauded Cultus Lake Park of $$) Motion was passed.
Voting in favour of dissolving the Core Services Committee: Hall & Toews
Voting against dissolving the Core Services Committee: Payeur & Shanks
#3: Nov. 27, 2013 Motion to reverse a Board decision to allow 12-month occupancy of caretaker suites for the 2 waterfront commercial leaseholders. Motion was passed. (As this reversal motion was made 7 months after the original decision, it violated the Park’s Meeting Procedure Bylaw.)
Voting in favour of taking away the 12-month occupancy: Hall & Toews
Voting against taking away the 12-month occupancy: Payeur & Shanks
#2: Motion to silence the public by indefinitely suspending Question Period (QP). This decision violated a Park Bylaw. (Note – this voting record was obtained under the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Act). Motion was passed.
Voting in favour of suspending QP: Hall & Toews
Voting against suspending QP: Payeur & Shanks
And the #1 Most Inappropriate Action taken by the current Cultus Lake Park Board:
Sept. 11, 2013 Motions to withdraw support for getting the Cultus Lake Park Act (CLPA) amended to bring a fair, representative and democratic election process to Cultus Lake after 900+ citizens signed a petition asking for these very same amendments. Motions were passed.
Voting in favour of withdrawing Board support for a democratic election process: Hall & Toews
Voting against withdrawing Board support for a democratic election process: Payeur & Shanks
Do you notice a pattern here? Some Commissioners consistently vote to do things within the law and Park bylaws and in the interests of the public. Others – not so much.
Remember these items while casting your ballot in the upcoming election. To vote for a particular candidate simply because he/she is your friend or because they seem to be nice is a perilous way to exercise your democratic right. I encourage you to vote for the candidates who have the necessary knowledge, background, and in the case of incumbents – the proven track record, to serve the needs of the entire community in a fair, ethical and honest way, while obeying laws and Bylaws.
Note: Bolding and coloured fonts done by POP