LETTER: A request for action from council
Dear fellow residents,
I arrived at the last council meeting at 7:05pm and missed the public input period. What I would have liked to have said to our Mayor and Council is the following:
The meeting Jan 4, 2013 at the Seniors Center with the mayor to discuss what happened with the Arena project and Jason Ward generated a lot of sensible and actionable ideas. I was disappointed to see that not much made it onto the council agenda and the city has been rather silent on the matter.
Why is the city not communicating openly and transparently with the public with concrete next steps to investigate and learn from this unfortunate example? Why are councillors so defensive in all communications in council chambers and in the media? Why aren’t our elected representatives protecting the citizens of Rossland (the tax payers) and helping ensure it doesn’t happen here or elsewhere in the future? What are you hiding?
For those who didn’t make the meeting, some of the easy to implement, responsible suggestions included:
1. Reporting Jason Ward’s activities to his professional association as his actions violate their code of conduct. They can investigate further.
2. Reporting Jason Ward’s activities regarding charging false taxes to the city (i.e. false HST number) to the CRA. They can investigate further.
3. Conducting a thorough independent inquiry into the arena scandal including what went wrong at City Hall (not only a basic audit to find out if cheques were paid) to find out where mistakes were made. We can learn from this and the facts will help development of actions to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
4. A commitment from the Mayor that this won’t happen again in the future (for some reason the Mayor refused to commit to this at the meeting) (this is dependent on no.3 above).
5. Apologize to residents for not acting on this sooner, i.e. when it was brought to everyone’s attention in the fall. This could be considered courtesy as well as demonstrating that you are ‘listening’ to your constituents (thanks to the three who voted yes to this motion).
During the last council meeting, I understand that one councillor felt the people at the Seniors’ Centre meeting do not represent the majority of Rosslanders. I find it insulting she feels that way given 70 people came out during a holiday. Furthermore, those people deserve respect and to be heard in all cases as we are your constituents.
I also don’t believe you were blind-sided (another councillor’s statement) as the Mayor told everyone at his Jan 4th meeting that council discussed this matter thoroughly and decided a more in depth audit was not needed. Above all, why are you so opposed to finding out how 180K in work was done without tender when the city apparently has a tender committee? In my humble opinion, it seems like a rational thing to look into. I support you using our tax dollars to do so as it will save us all money in the long run.
As the mayor mentioned to the public “we need to move forward”. I believe acting on the suggestions above would be a helpful start for everyone.
Thank you in advance for considering this at your next meeting,
[Editor’s note: a copy of this letter has been sent to council]