Petition calls for removal of mayor, councillors

Numerous residents aim to expose what they see as four separate breaches of the community charter on the part of the city council.

  • Jun. 11, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Mayor Smith and three councillors should be disqualified from council, says a petition circulating throughout Greenwood.

Numerous residents, including Christopher Yates, Mike Goddard and Christopher Stevenson, aim to expose what they see as four separate breaches of the community charter on the part of the city council.

The petition needs 10 signatures but the number currently stands at over 100, and petitioners are hoping to top 200 by the time it is filed later this week with the Supreme Court of B.C.

Reached for comment while on family business in Alberta, Mayor Ed Smith said, “Everything we are doing is above board and for us it is business as usual. The group that has created the petition will do what they have to, but we have done nothing wrong.”

Yates said, “The breaches are based solely on past council minutes, which are a matter of public record and concern conflicts of interest, as well as procedures that contravened certain bylaws.”

All conflicts noted on the petition are pecuniary conflicts of interest.

“1) A council member’s husband is a city employee.  Our CAO was the councillor’s husband’s supervisor.  It is a direct conflict of interest for that councillor to vote to remove her husband’s supervisor.

“2) A council member who sits as a director of another organization spoke to and voted on a financial raise for said organization during budget meetings. This is a direct conflict of interest.

“3) Council claimed indemnity under Bylaw 807, which grants council legal indemnity if all parts of the bylaw are adhered to. At the time the new council claimed indemnity, it breached Bylaw 807 by removing the CAO in December 2014 from having any dealings with the legal case, and taking over steerage of the legal matter putting them all into a direct pecuniary conflict of interest. They were using city funds claiming indemnity under a bylaw, and then ignoring the previsions to their own financial benefit and our citizens’ financial detriment.

“Legal fees for the month of March alone were $11,301.00, almost one third of the city’s annual legal budget. The removal of our CAO from this legal matter also breached Section 153 of the Community Charter.

“4) Speaking to and voting on financial benefits during budget meetings that directly affect a council member’s husband’s wage and benefits is a direct pecuniary conflict of interest.”

The Community Charter states in section 100:

“If a council member attending a meeting considers that he or she is not entitled to participate in the discussion of a matter, or to vote on a question in respect of a matter, because the member has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the matter OR another interest in the matter that constitutes a conflict of interest, the member must declare this and state in general terms the reason why the member considers this to be the case.”

For instance, were a council member to be a business operator applying for any type of consideration, that member would be required to leave chambers during the discussion regarding said application.  Failure to do so would be in direct conflict with section 100 of the charter.

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