Clean slate in Central Saanich costly

Council has decided to reject a balance of experience and new, and, instead, has orchestrated a clean slate of senior staff

The recent retirements of the longstanding CAO and Engineer in Central Saanich significantly depleted the experience of senior staff in our District. Then, council abruptly dismissed the Director of Planning, effectively wiping out all memory of our history at a senior level.

I assume that the dismissal of the Director of Planning was without cause and my research indicates that a severance package equivalent to one month’s salary per year of service is a standard and fair practice. With 12 years of service,  I estimate that the dismissal of Hope Burns could easily cost tax payers between $100,000 and $150,000.

This expense alone would add about one to one-and-a-half per cent to a typical residential tax bill in 2014.

Further, the District has now hired a search consultant to find a replacement.  This, too, will be a costly project for taxpayers.

And I am also concerned about mounting hidden costs.

The broad skill set and experience that Hope Burns brought to our small diverse District will be difficult to replace.

She had previously worked for the ALR, cities of North Vancouver and Langford and practiced privately.

Four years ago, she was awarded the title “Planner of the Year” by the Planning Institute of B.C.

Council has decided to reject a balance of experience and new, and, instead, has orchestrated a clean slate of senior staff.

I believe this will be a costly decision to taxpayers and I ask our council to be forthright about the actual costs and to justify them.

Elizabeth Chambers

Brentwood Bay