Mediation between the council of the District of North Saanich and its senior staff has taken place on at least one occasion, yet the mayor isn’t saying anything about the outcome.
Mayor Alice Finall would not confirm nor deny that a mediation session with Gordon Sloan took place Tuesday, Nov. 13. Sloan was retained on Nov. 5 for $5,000 by the district, after council voted to hire him to help them work through issues between them and chief administrative officer Rob Buchan — and amongst council themselves.
Mediation had been suggested earlier in this council’s term, after rancour erupted between councillors and the mayor at their inaugural meeting after the 2011 municipal election. It was rejected at the time but revisited at the Nov. 5 council session.
Hot button issues facing the municipality, mainly housing density matters, has polarized council, generally pitting a majority of four pro-development councillors against three generally seen as anti-growth, or those who would limit development speed.
As well, councillors Ted Daly and Dunstan Browne have been critical of staff in recent weeks.
Daly has noted that he’s frustrated by an apparent inability to speak with any other staff than the CAO on council business.
All sides on council have stated they hope mediation will improve professionalism at the table.
Finall said she was not going to comment on the outcome of recent mediation sessions, out of respect for the process and for her fellow councillors.