Before Alex Currie chose musing and sharing a few thoughts, regarding the resignation of Ms. Barnard from District of North Saanich council, he would have been wise to look at more facts and read between the lines rather than just extemporize.
Did he actually read her published letter of resignation telling of a lack of accountability and transparency in the workings of the district? Did he read her comments in the Nov. 23 Peninsula News Review about the “system that can be manipulated to silence persistent councillors and suppress difficult information through the use of in-camera meetings, threats of publicly funded litigation, severance demands and labour laws”? Did he read of the previous district’s mayor’s comments regarding a $26,000 tax-payer funded compensation (and, most likely, legal fees in addition) to the outgoing CAO?
Could this be for a previous councillor’s questioning his methods or policies? Was Ms. Barnard threatened by this same system of publicly funded litigation? What were her persistent questions? Was she supported by council? Are the in-camera meetings mentioned, designed to exclude taxpayers from that very accountability and transparency which seems so obvious in a democracy and which are demanded by district residents?
Rather than taking the ball, and going home because she didn’t like the game, as Currie childishly suggested, I believe she chose to take a stand for democracy and call a spade a spade. Rather than being silenced by what would appear to be bullying, she chose bringing attention to the district’s questionable policies and ways of doing business with its taxpayers, and asking for an independent third party audit of the district’s corporate culture and practices by the ombudsman and the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Two letter published alongside Mr. Currie’s have questions regarding the behaviour or policies of district employees. As Ms. Warrington wrote, “staff runs the place and that has to change. They are, after all, employees”.
The incoming CAO, mayor and council must work together to demonstrate the highest accountability and transparency in order to gain back the trust of all district taxpayers.