Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Thank You Chris Walker: Public Trust and Municipal Government

If it were not for the good investigative journalism of some such as Chris Walker of Daybreak South, Kelowna, issues such as the one told in these articles and interviews might never get the attention of the taxpayers who put their trust in elected officials.  Since this story aired on March 3rd it has been interesting to listen to the resulting comments about lack of transparency, too many in camera meetings and lack of oversight in municipal affairs.  This story from Grand Forks is much bigger than the focus of this particular investigation.  It began over a year ago and no doubt will continue to evolve as more is revealed, if it is revealed.
We on this blog, have questioned, why on more than one occasion some Cranbrook correspondence, for example, is not included on public agendas or in Council packages. It can be argued that  officials have been elected and must just do their job.  However, when self-interest creeps in at the expense of opinion at large, one must question what oversight really exists to assist with objective rather than subjective decision making. Whose responsibility is it to decide what information is relevant and what not.  In these CBC interviews about the Grand Forks Mayor's personal interest in a council decision, we learn that experts were consulted but their advice not heeded.  It would appear the only recourse for citizens is a long and complicated process, not understood by the majority of taxpayers, through the courts or through the services of time consuming investigative journalism. Thank You Chris Walker.

Grand Forks mayor can't explain discrepancies in FOI document on conflict of interest
Memo shows city staff warned mayor of potential conflict of interest on his first day in office
By Chris Walker, Wanyee Li, CBC News Posted: Mar 03, 2016 6:31 AM PT Last Updated: Mar 03, 2016 7:01 AM PT
CBC has obtained freedom of information documents released from the city of Grand Forks, B.C., that contain discrepancies, including one that reveals what happened after the mayor was warned about his potential conflict of interest. 
Frank Konrad, did not recuse himself over his conflict of interest regarding the city's water meters for his first six months in office, even though FOI documents show his chief administrative officer brought it to his attention on his first day of office in 2014.
The city first released the FOI documents to a Grand Forks resident. CBC saw those documents in February 2016. A second copy of the documents was requested by CBC later that month, but contained a different version of a memo detailing a meeting on Konrad's first day in office on December 2, 2014.
Konrad says no changes were made to the documents and the City of Grand Forks says it sent CBC the only copy of documents it has on file.
The potential installation of water meters in Grand Forks was the main election issue in town during the 2014 campaign. Many residents opposed the idea because it would mean paying for the amount of water they used.

To listen to the interviews go to the Daybreak link here:
CBC | Daybreak South: Chris Walker hosts a current affairs morning show covering the Southern Interior of British Columbia, based in Kelowna.

To read the entire article at CBC go here:

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