Recent comments

  • How will Rossland resolve its governance mess...or will it?   35 weeks 6 days ago

    Andre, would it be easier and/or cheaper to acheive this with a new CAO and new CAO contract? I understand our current CAO has been off work for quite a while with an illness or disability, and I'm not sure if she's coming back or not.

  • Lightning fast high speed fiber optic services available in Nelson   36 weeks 18 hours ago

    Broadband connectivity has become as important as sewer and water in this digital age. It helps businesses stay competitive and is necessary to drive community economic development. 

    For information on the Nelson broadband project visit nelsonbroadband.com and for information on broadband service providers visit http://nelsonbroadband.com/broadband-service  

  • Walmarts and farmers’ markets—should people serve the economy or does the economy serve people?   36 weeks 3 days ago

    Andre, you write, "Development generates new taxable assessment, but the promise of more cash in the till is moderated by the cost of having to extend municipal services. The challenge is not only to deliver expanded services without negative impacts on the established community, but to also achieve a net gain for the community." 

    I believe this thought would be viewed as revolutionary by members of the Rossland council.  Not the part about deveopment generating new tax income, that they get right away. But the idea that (a) new developments have to be serviced and said services may well exceed the taxes generated; and (b) development (as in, allowing our most precious resource--land-- to be used for something different than what it is used for now)  ought to result in a net gain for the COMMUNITY (not just the developer.) And (c) "net gain for the community" ought to be measured in other ways than purely financial.

  • COMMENT: Parliament defeats food safety bill   36 weeks 4 days ago

    Democracy in action- I'm sure no one in Canada would like to know what we are eating EHH! But then it is the same way with GMO's they don't want you to know otherwise Monsanto and those like him would not be able to continue poisoning us EHH?

  • COMMENT: Taxes and Their Role in Our Society   36 weeks 6 days ago

    It is truly amazing that there are so many thumbs down on this one. Come on people open your eyes corporations are only interested in profit rather than the good of the country or mankind. Take for example the CNR Rail the corporation can't even bother to keep the rail line or equipment in good repair--- costs money to Hell with safety. How about corporations that take work away from Canadians and have everything done in low wage countries and then sell here. If they take their work to other countries let them sell there as well and not here. None so blind as he who will not see.

     Military Industrial Complex   THEY want you  Truth never told.

     

     

  • Lightning fast high speed fiber optic services available in Nelson   37 weeks 15 hours ago

    Nice to see our tax dollars going towards building a Fibre optic network for DHC to profit from. Oh and they got to do the majority of the work to put it in. This smells fishy.

  • Lightning fast high speed fiber optic services available in Nelson   37 weeks 15 hours ago

    Nice to see our tax dollars going towards building a Fibre optic network for DHC to profit from. Oh and they got to do the majority of the work to put it in. This smells fishy.

  • OPEN LETTER: The City's 'trash talkin' swagger' in the face of AGLG report is shameful   37 weeks 2 days ago

    A collective small city team of a mayor, council, and manager must cost effectively communicate with the public. Electronic media is one of the ideal platforms to have. We are very fortunate to have those at the Telegraph to also be a watch dog of sorts. Those hired or in elected positions might not have much for public relations skills. However, this may not be a necessary skill depending on the characteristics of the mayor or the manager. The city then takes on the characteristics of those voices.

    The team at city hall must respect all questions, compliments or criticisms brought forward in any report, editorial or even general comment as an opportunity. The high values of public interest and opinions are quickly brushed aside if something goes wrong or after the election campaigning ends. The campaigning and elected responsibilities can be exhausting on some. But getting the supporting votes is only on part of the responsibilities.

    I agree the changing dynamics seen at city hall are a huge concern. The entire fault of dynamics at city hall shouldn’t be solely placed on the elected positions. A problem at city hall seen in the last decade or more is the absence of both a strong and cooperative administrative manager. We have seen several types of managers during this period. Some were hired to complete specific house cleaning tasks; some were hired primarily based upon a private recommendations without much review; some managers set higher values on self-interest over public interest and even silenced the voice of those elected; and some might not even have an effective knowledge of the community charter.

    Once again, the basic fundamentals used for open and transparent public communication are critical to building trust and mutual respect. Respect is needed at all levels. But some always appear to make no effort to earn it.

    If self-interest takes power, it just might be four years of shaking heads and public disrespect of city hall.

  • COMMENT: Taxes and Their Role in Our Society   37 weeks 3 days ago

    It never fails to amaze me how these simple facts fail to penetrate the skull of the average person who supports tax cutting political parties. This 'average person' and their friends and family benefit from the programs taxes pay for! So with Stephen Harper in power, the majority of this nation is voting directly against its own interests!

    'Why?' is the fascinating question, of course. We could say propaganda. I, however, lean more toward a widespread societal belief in 'tough love' or 'the school of hard knocks' where many of us have had hard times in our lives and instinctually think that the best solution is to stand on one's own, etc. It's more psychological, if you will, than political. It's certainly not rational or supported by facts.

    People who use social support services are often spoken of as though they were spoiled children and the conservative voter (I believe) wants a society that will 'help them grow up'. But the reality is very different--see my previous comment on this thread about the real nature of the 'lazy welfare bum'.

    The agonizing aspect of all this is that, in the 21st century, we have such a mass of data on different social/political systems that none of this is really a legitimate matter of political debate any more. It's just better for society in general if we take care of the weak. I mean, Jesus said this over 2000 years ago! And yet here we are, still 'debating' it as though it was still a legitimately-contentious issue...

    Come on right wingers....post a comment with ANY credible evidence that supports your views that tax cuts benefit society! I dare ya...

  • LETTER: Paranoia or due process   37 weeks 3 days ago

    It is not good enough to refer to the "democratic process" without first establishing the nature of democracy you refer to.

    Funk & Wagnall's Canadian College Dictionary defines democracy as follows:

    "A form of government in which political power resides in all the people and is exercised by them directly (pure democracy), or is given to elected representatives (representative democracy)."

    Pure democracy is what makes it possible for the Swiss to vote in a national referendum to be held next Sunday (May 18, 2014) on a whole raft of matters, including a decision by their federal government to purchase new fighter jets for the Swiss military. As of today the polling opponents hold a narrow lead, about 51% opposed compared to 45% in favour, with the rest as yet undecided. If voters reject the deal the Swiss government negotiated with the Swedes for a bunch of new fighter aircraft, then that's it. No means no! (in 2013 Swiss citizens were called out to vote in March, 3 questions; in June, 2 questions; in September, 3 questions; and it November, 3 questions. There will be that many this year again. It ain't cheep, but that's direct democracy for you.

    Representative democracy is fundamentally different. Citizens of a representative democracy have the power to determine the WHO of government, but they have no say in the WHAT of government.

    The Dictionary of Canadian Law defines Local Government as follows:

     "1. A system of government by which administration of local affairs is entrusted to local authority. 2. A body with legislative power over a local area but which national authority may overrule."

    So if council says yes, but the province or the feds say no, then no it is. What citizens think or say about it is irrelevant.

    All a municipal council in Grand Forks or in any other Canadian municipality (except in the Yukon) needs to do to make a DEMOCRATIC decision is to pass a resolution or adopt a bylaw in the belief that it knows what is best for the community. Period.

    The Yukon is the only Canadian jurisdiction which, in its Municipal Act (Division 16, Public Votes, sec. 150-159) provides for plebiscites and referendums the results of which are binding on municipal councils.

    So, maybe, instead of complaining that councils are not acting in a democratic fashion (which is not true, because they are acting in conformance with the legally established form of democracy applicable to them) and instead of the constant whimpering about taxes being too high, maybe, one of these years (or decades) citizens in the province will get organized to push for a change in the form of democracy the B.C. Government has established for municipalities in the Community Charter.

    After all, if the Yukon, as a mere Territory can do it, then sure as heck a province can. there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent a province from establishling a system of direct democracy for municipal governments, just as the Yukon's Legislative Assembly has done nearly two decades ago. Instead of moving towards greater citizen engagement, British Columbia continues to marginalize the citizens' political power by extending council terms from 3 years to 4. And what was the public response to that? Not even as much as blah-blah.

    So don't go around blaming council for doing what it thinks is best for you, because doing so - doing what it thinks is best for you - is precisely the job to which you have elected your council.

  • COMMENT: Taxes and Their Role in Our Society   37 weeks 3 days ago

    The first major cut to progressive taxation that I was aware of happened over 40 years ago when Justin Trudeau's father was PM. Then, as now, it was sold with the claim that the rich would use their increased wealth to create jobs. Now we can only fantasize about having unemployment rates as low as they were then. Within a couple of years the unemployment rate began a rise that still continues despite many redefinitions of "unemployment" to make the number appear smaller.

    The notion of job creation by the rich is even more absurd in the current free-trade world when so much money is invested in production facilities in slave-wage economies at the expense of first world manufacturing jobs.

    Other absurd premises of the tax-cut true believers are:

    Taxation takes money out of the economy. In reality, the government spends every cent it gets (and more--but that's another problem) and most of it goes into the domestic economy. In fact, despite grotesque military expenditures, a higher percentage of public-sector spending goes into the domestic economy than private-sector spending.

    Governments can not create jobs. This would seem  too absurd to mention except that this riding elected and re-elected an MP who made that very claim. When asked where he imagined the public-sector jobs he proposed to destroy came from he gave a political non-answer.

    The private sector is inherently highly efficient and the public sector is  inherently bureauocracy-bound and incompetent. Anybody who has worked for a large corporation should see the absurdity of this claim. In fact, bureauocracy is more a function of size than of sector. As corporations get bigger they get increasingly bureauocratic. If we were to elect people who were driven more by the notion of public service rather than by ideology they could make government less bureauocratic. Though politicians and public servants can be obscenely overpaid the money they extract from the enterprise is miniscule compared to corporate executive wages.

    Government should be run like a business. This is an extension of the notion that government is inherently inefficient. Government is not a business. It exists (or should exist) to serve the public--not to make a profit. Businesses cut people loose when they can no longer contribute to profit. Decent governments provide for people's needs when they are too young or too old or too ill or too handicapped to be productive.

    If the rich are made richer their spending will trickle down to the rest of us. There is a trickle down. there is also a flow upwards. The first world has plenty of evidence that the whole society prospers when the poor have a disposable income. The third world shows us that it does not work the other way around.

    The free market is very good at providing material goods for people with disposable incomes. It is very bad at providing for the needs of people without money. A civilized society must tax to provide for peoples' needs.

    Why should not those who benefit the most from the prosperity that a large public sector provides pay a proportionately larger share of the taxes necessary to finance the public sector?

    Here's an equation that the corporate media never tell you about:

    Tax cuts equals health health care cuts --and education cuts and infrastructure-funding cuts, and protective regulation cuts and cuts to a wide range of  other public services that the private sector has no interest in providing.

  • COMMENT: The AGLG report. Now what?   37 weeks 3 days ago

    We all know by now (or should know) that Rossland Council went off the rails the day Victor Kumar was hired as CAO and insisted that Council pass the Delegation Bylaw which delegated to this newcomer to Rossland all the powers that Council possibly could delegate--along with the right to exercise those powers without oversight by Council. This included the power to let contracts, the power to approve development permit applications, the power to commit you the taxpayers to paying ridiculously high staff salaries, and more.  That is history--the history of a Council that abbrogated its oversight responsibilities with predictable results in terms of corruption and other forms of wasteful expenditures.

    Here is a bit more history that you may not know: More than a year ago, when citizens complained in a public meeting about this terrible bylaw, Mayor Granstrom said, and I quote, BYLAWS CAN BE CHANGED.  In a subsequent e-mail to me, he assured me that he was working to that end. I also received an e-mail from Councilor Fisher who said he had read that by-law and IN NO WAY SHOULD IT BE ALLOWED TO STAND.  Then there is Councilor Moore who, as far back as January 2013 was trying to get that bylaw rescinded. So there are three people on Council, one of them being the mayor, who committed to reclaiming the astonishing near-total power that a previous council had delegated to the CAO.

    Yet the Delegation Bylaw still stands. The present CAO (hired by Kumar) has exactly the same power to do pretty much as she pleases as Kumar had when he was in that position. THAT is current reality.  As long as this bylaw remains in place, it is not your elected Council but the present CAO who has the power to make the criticial decisions mentioned above (and many others.)  One power Council does retain is the power to eliminate or modify the Delegation Bylaw. But that, it seems, is something it is not going to do unless a substantial majority of Rosslanders demand it. 

    As in all wannabe democracies, what happens next depends not on what THEY decide to do about this problem,  but on what we-the-people decide to do about it. If we do nothing, then that is what we can expect to happen: nothing.

     

    
    

     

    I

  • COMMENT: Taxes and Their Role in Our Society   37 weeks 4 days ago

    I'm puzzled by the argument that an opposition MP is responsible  for the economic conditions in his riding "on his watch." If economic and taxation policy is set by the Conservative government of the day, shouldn't the benefits of that policy apply to all Canadians in all regions, regardless of the affiliation of the MP? What powers does Atamanenko have as an oposition MP that would allow him to screw over our riding, which should otherwise be basking in the economic glory that cuts to corporate taxes and social programs bring?

     

  • COMMENT: Taxes and Their Role in Our Society   37 weeks 5 days ago

    Personally, viirga, I don't know many of these 'idle' people you mention here. The 'lazy welfare bum' living large on the sweat of others' brows is a myth of right wing media. Poverty isn't a choice for most disadvantaged people--it's something that's been thrust upon them by troubled backgrounds, bad luck or a general lack of well-paying work in society (you'd think Stephen Harper would have managed to create many fine, well-paying jobs after 7 years in office with almost absolute power and a philosophy very much like yours...instead the poor keep getting poorer and the rich keep getting richer for some reason....hmmm).

    All research shows that human happiness is greater across the board in societies that take care of the weakest among them. It's also true that in 'pull yourself up by your own bootstraps' societies, human suffering...and particularly child suffering and domestic violence...are much greater. This is objective fact, not political posturing.

    If your philosophy of low taxation and high standards of living actually works, please name one country that has successfully implemented it.  Unfortunately, if you look into this, you'll find that, time and time again, the countries rated 'best to live in' by the UN and other bodies are socialist nations like Sweden or even...Canada (historically, though Harper is doing his best to fix this).

  • COMMENT: Taxes and Their Role in Our Society   37 weeks 6 days ago

    Ratepayers are holding the fort for those too Idle to Care. Easy to call for more tax when you don't contribute. 

    Go ahead double the corporate tax and you'll find you raise no where near the wealth that small increases in personal income raises. Creating jobs raises more tax than any other way. 

    Jobs then lead to value-added consumer taxes; and then those families, supported by employment, buy homes and are further taxed. These are ratepayers that directly invest in communities. These ignored and unsung local heroes are the backbone of local community.

    This MP is a blackhole to the Kootenays and must accept responsibility for the failure of the local economy and the high poverty rate on his watch.

     

  • COMMENT: Taxes and Their Role in Our Society   37 weeks 6 days ago

    It is not enough to compare tax rates alone. There are two sources to money spent by governments: taxes and debt.

    Comparing Sweden's tax rate to Canada's gives a better picture.

    Public debt as a percentage of GDP (2012):

    - Canada 84.1%, Sweden 38.6%.

    Gross Government Debt as a percentage of GDP (2012):

    - Canada 85.6%, Sweden 38.0%.

    Net Government Debt as a percentage of GDP (2012):

    - Canada 34.5%, Sweden -17.6%.

    The difference between the fiscal policies of the two countries is that one believes in buy now, pay later while the other believes in pay as you go.

    Who benefits from interest paid on government debt? Those who have the money to invest in it. Who loses? Those whose services are cut to pay the interest.

    The philosophical difference between the fiscal policies of Canada and Sweden is that here in Canada we don't give a hoot about what our grandchildren. The present is ours to enjoy, the future is their problem.

     

  • COMMENT: Taxes and Their Role in Our Society   37 weeks 6 days ago

    Nothing wrong with paying taxes the problem is with the idiots in government that abuse the trust that tax payers place in them. Sweden is an example of GOOD GOVERNMENT in action. It does not work that way here because of kick backs for favors received. Why is it that we keep electing those who are financed by the 1%????

  • PUBLIC MEETING: What sort of qualities do we need in a City Councillor?   38 weeks 10 hours ago

    I think this series of gatherings to explore ideas of leadership and the attributes of a successful council and creative governance is a wonderful idea! Many thanks to Adrian and Foment West Kootenays for instigating it. We are such a small community, its easy to make a real difference for anyone  willing to make the effort. I would love to attend but I am currently out of town. I hope to make the next one. Thanks again to the organizers.

    km

  • PUBLIC MEETING: What sort of qualities do we need in a City Councillor?   38 weeks 1 day ago

    Here are a few thoughts from individuals who have given much thought to what governing in a democratic manner is all about.

    Jeremy Rifkin (author, among other books, of The End of Work):

    Now, however, that the commercial and public sectors are no longer capable of securing some of the fundamental needs of the people, the public has little choice but to begin looking out for itself, once again, by reestablishing viable communities as a buffer against both the impersonal forces of the global market and increasingly weak and incompetent central governing authorities.

    Jean Vanier (author, among other books, of Becoming Human):

    If history teaches us nothing else, it is that power is borrowed. At best, power is something granted not something taken. Those who have power need the gifts of discernment and judgment, because if we recognize the temporary nature of power, then equally, we need to recognize what in the activity of dissent is valuable.

    Philip Resnick (author, among other books, of Twenty-First Century Democracy):

    To reduce democracy to a set of procedural arrangements involving the choice of elected representatives and officials to whom decision-making power is surrendered for a specific term is a very serious abdication of its participatory underpinnings.

    If you start out reflecting and discussing thoughts such as these, you may come to realize that the challenge for the next election is not so much who to vote for, but how, by what means, and to what degree citizens should be engaged in the governance of their own community AFTER the election. 

  • OPEN LETTER: The City's 'trash talkin' swagger' in the face of AGLG report is shameful   38 weeks 2 days ago

    What really puzzles me is why city council would reject the suggestion to create a hiring committee ?  I am surprised that a hiring commitee is not a formal procedure of city councils throughout  the province. 

    These last few years, I have perceived the hiring process for city staff to be anything but transparent, and frankly, the track record for the last CAOs is pretty bleak, as supported by the recently released AGLG report.

    As a citizen of Rossland, I am questionning the hiring process of city staff. I agree that contracts should be reviewed by a qualified, unbiased lawyer, and put in place prior to the next round of hiring.  The process should be transparent and overseen by a hiring committee.

  • OPEN LETTER: The City's 'trash talkin' swagger' in the face of AGLG report is shameful   38 weeks 2 days ago

    Response to Cary Fisher

    I appreciate that Councillor Fisher has communicated his thoughts publicly. I believe this Council has not done enough of that over this term. I would like to see more public engagement. Council is not only made stronger by communication with the people, it is the only way we can represent them.  I agree that everyone on Council cares deeply for the community and wants to do the right thing, however our methods may differ.

    I do take issue with Councillor Fisher’s suggestion that the mayor and I have angst, personal tensions or a personality conflict. I believe that we differ fundamentally in matters of philosophy and leadership style. To base these differences on personality is to miss the point; it is an excuse for Council’s lack of critical thinking and its reluctance to pursue independent analyses of the issues that came before us.

    Some of the examples I am giving here are drawn from in camera meeting experiences; those meetings that were closed to the public. I believe the community should not have to rely on rumors to be able to evaluate the performance of the Council it has elected.  Plus all these issues are now out in the open anyway.

    In 2011 I strongly argued against the proposal put forth by the CAO and the Mayor for a year-round pool facility. The CAO had not been directed by Council to apply for that project.  There were reasonable recreational needs that would have better matched the grant criteria than a $5m pool, especially considering the $400k suggested limit. (For example: a skate park, modest upgrades to our existing pool or replacing the arena floor). This was not a personality conflict; it was about the manner in which accountable decisions are made for the community.  This was not a Council of novices; four members of that Council (Granstrom, Wallace, Spearn and myself) had at least one term of prior experience.

    In the fall of 2011 when irregularities with the arena project came to my attention, I asked questions of the Mayor and the CAO, and called for an investigation. I got stonewalled and was told nothing was wrong. After the new Council was elected I tried again. Council ignored my request for an investigation when the Mayor, the CAO and the Deputy CAO downplayed the issue.

    Having exhausted normal channels, I went to the municipal auditor with my concerns. Led by the Mayor and the CAO I was roundly criticized by a number of council members for having done so. I considered it to be not only my right, but my obligation as a Councillor to contact the municipal auditor when faced with a concern as serious as the problems with the arena. What else is a Council member with a sense of responsibility to do in such circumstances? Just forget it and turn the page? The municipal auditor identified issues of concern with the arena project, but there was no investigation or action on the part of Council. What did draw a lot of ire was the concern of Rossland Council having a “rogue councillor” in its midst. I was accused of being critical of staff, of nitpicking, of damaging staff morale, of being another Laurie Charlton. The substance of our disagreement was not my personality it was a failure of leadership, a failure of Council to look after the interests of the community.

    In the summer of 2012 I argued that we needed an open and transparent hiring process to replace the outgoing CAO. Council rejected my suggestion to create a hiring committee. What Council accepted instead was one candidate essentially forced on us – take it or leave it. Council turned down my suggestion to have the draft contract reviewed by a lawyer. I protested over some of the more egregious provisions of the contract to no avail.  Some Councillors may have shared my concerns, but none would act against the Mayor and the CAO. Once again, the substance of our disagreement was not my personality; it was a failure of leadership, a failure of Council to look after the interests of the community.

    My concerns with that contract were such that I paid $3,500 (my own funds) for a legal review. I shared the results of that review with Council, hoping that this would motivate Council to make an effort to renegotiate, but instead I was roundly criticized for being a “rogue Councillor.” There was talk of wanting to censure me, fine me, prohibit me from attending future in camera meetings.  None of these options was remotely legitimate because I had done nothing wrong. And yet again,  the substance of our disagreement was not  my personality; it was a failure to look after the interests of the community.

    In January 2013, after the public outcry over the arena issues, Council finally decided to reach out to the new Auditor General for Local Government. I am fully convinced that without public pressure this would never have happened. That was a busy spring with motions passed to review the Delegation Bylaw, to review the Procurement bylaw, and to get reports on the arena. To date, none of those reviews have happened. The arena reports were conducted by outside experts, but Council did not see them until the fall, and no staff report was included.

    At an in camera meeting in July of 2013 I was subjected to a multipage diatribe lecture by [current CAO Cecile Arnott]. I was accused of bullying and berating staff.  The CAO demanded that I stop immediately. I agreed that I was persistent in my requests for information on the subject of the reviews Council had committed to undertake, on final figures for the Columbia Washington project and for an updated Task List (A list representing progress on tasks Council had requested staff to undertake as well as other work they were doing). However, I disagreed with the CAO’s assessment of my behavior. I was not bullying, I was only asking for work that staff had previously been directed to complete. When I asked the CAO for a copy of the complaints she had brought to Council about my behaviour, she told me she destroyed it. The mayor and council were silent. The substance of our disagreement, yet again, was not my personality, it is a failure of leadership. The “tone at the top” is important: Council is expected to  “respect our professional staff and don’t ask uncomfortable questions or you to will be singled out as a problem.”

    Lastly, a couple other items that caught my eye in Councillor Fisher’s comments: I had been asking for a complete accounting of the Columbia-Washington project since August of 2012, not just the engineering. As for problems being addressed in our Action Plan, yes we are moving on some things.  However, I suggest that we need to do more than move, we need regular updates and documentation of what improvements have been achieved. But considering that Council was only recently presented with two untendered, sole source contracts, there is evidently still plenty of room for improvement.  

    Finally, one bright light in recent months has been the hiring of our Acting CFO. Lois Hunter has been working hard to make sense of our financial department. I am confident that the AGLG’s report will serve as a catalyst for many improvements to our local governance- some will happen under this council and more will be done next term. As Councillor Fisher noted, these things take time but I would add, there is no room for complacency.

  • COMMENT: The AGLG report. Now what?   38 weeks 3 days ago

    The credentials of Mr. Kumar were supposedly vetted by the head-hunter that Council hired, at great expense, to find a new CAO.  It is unknown what vetting actually took place.

    Once Mr. Kumar was in place, and had convinced a majority of Council to adopt the delegation bylaw, a process began whereby most of the policies,  adopted by Council over the years to provide direction to the CAO (many crafted by Mr. Carel), were systematically repealed.  The delegation bylaw, the lack of policy direction provided, and the unwillingness of Council to question most things presented by Mr. Kumar all contributed to Mr. Kumar's almost total control of Council.

  • COMMENT: The AGLG report. Now what?   38 weeks 3 days ago

    Repealing the Delegation Bylaw would give Council a basis from which to review its hiring policies and management salaries.

    The place to start is to reflect on Community Charter section 147. Don't rush, take your time, think about what it says and means:

    [Council may, by bylaw] establish the position of chief administrative officer of the municipality, whose powers, duties and functions include the following:

    (a) overall management of the operations of the municipality;

    (b) ensuring that the policies, programs and other directions of the council are implemented;

    (c) advising and informing the council on the operation and affairs of the municipality.

    Remember that (a) without (b) and (c) is what got Rossland in trouble according to the AGLG report.

    A review of the CAO position and salary undertaken after the Delegation Bylaw is history should focus on section 147. The objective should be to restrict the CAO's powers, duties, and functions to those set out in sec. 147, with particular emphasis on (b) and (c), and to reduce the compensation package by an amount equal to the value of the repealed Delegation Bylaw powers .

    Good luck!

  • COMMENT: The AGLG report. Now what?   38 weeks 3 days ago

    It may sound churlish to bring this up yet again, but it's also true that Mr. Kumar was hired, as we understand it, without proper vetting. So this extremely generous gift of power was given to a man the council of the day didn't even check out properly. And, churlish though this also might also sound, his successor, Cecile Arnott, was chosen by Mr. Kumar himself. One very pressing need right now if we're all to begin to move forward in a positive direction is for council to adopt a proper hiring policy to make sure the hiring of the next CAO is the result of a fully-open and thorough process. A salary review for senior management also needs to be done. Currently, every woman, man, and child in the Mountain Kingdom gives close to $60 per year to Ms. Arnott!

    Petition anyone? Too bad direct democracy got repealed! Or is council finally ready to start fixing things? Hiring policies and salary reviews, it should be noted, are not radical moves. They are actually pretty mundane, sensible procedures.--ed.

  • OPEN LETTER: The City's 'trash talkin' swagger' in the face of AGLG report is shameful   38 weeks 4 days ago

    The blindsided comment is an interesting one. Councillor Spearn is right, Council has been blindsided. The responsibility for the blindsiding, however, rests with the Council itself. It is Council itself which did the blindsiding.

    It is the Council which adopted, and stubbornly holds on to the Delegation Bylaw without realiziing that, with that bylaw, it has de facto surrendered the responsibility to govern which it was elected to carry.

    Take a look at a paper I wrote 16 years ago:  http://www.npsnet.com/cdd/carrel.htm

    Here are a couple of paragraphs out of it:

    With all due respect, you are wrong when you assume that we have representative democracy in Canada, at the federal, provincial or municipal level. We live in a "responsible democracy", not a representative democracy – there is a difference. It is our proximity to the US and the cultural influence the US has on us that leads us to believe that we live in a representative democracy. "We the people" is a US constitutional phrase. Canada's Constitution recognizes governments, federal and provincial, not citizens.2 The Canadian parliamentary system is based on the philosophical concept of responsible government and is modeled on the British prototype. The existence of a legitimate government, in a formal sense, requires that a political party, either alone or in coalition with others, has the confidence or support of a majority of the members of parliament. The people are assumed to have a collective will, which is expressed through the election of governments with legislative majorities.3

    Responsible government has lost much of the legitimacy it once had. Information technology has created opportunities for abuse and, along with the passage of time, has transformed our responsible democracy into what David Marley calls a "ritualistic democracy." Our society has reached the point where cynicism and disdain are the only methods left for many citizens to cope with "politics as usual." The hypothesis of Rossland's Municipal Constitution is that citizens, voters and taxpayers, will take an interest in issues of substance, will seek to inform themselves about facts, and will debate the merits and the cost of public policy questions – provided their efforts can truly, honestly and effectively determine the decision, if and when citizens so choose.

    When a “responsible government” delegates all the powers the law allows it to delegate, what it is in fact delegating with the responsibility that goes with these powers. Delegated to whom? What are the Delegation Bylaws accountability provisions, and how do they function? With the Delegation Bylaw Council itself set the stage to be blindsided.

    Eventually, maybe, enough members of Rossland Council will come to realize the significance of the Delegation Bylaw. But who knows, maybe the citizens of Rossland may come to that realization first.