An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE KAMLOOPS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE is one of the most respected business organizations in the country. It has a reputation for innovation and leadership — many of its ideas have been adopted as policy by senior levels of government.
Right now, though, the chamber is embarrassed, and deservedly so, after a weekend-long rank 4 social media firestorm over its hiring of a new executive director that was announced last Thursday and withdrawn Sunday.
The candidate was John Perks, touted as an accomplished non-profit sector administrator and a creative thinker. But hard on the heels of the announcement, some Facebook posts by Perks raised questions about the choice.
They involved the sharing of memes expressing rightwing opinions of Muslims, climate change, immigrants and other topical issues.
Perks, who was supposed to start work today, explained he only posted them as examples of the kind of thinking that should be rejected. He acknowledged the posts could be “taken out of context.”
Chamber president Joshua Knaak at first defended the hiring, saying the posts didn’t reflect “the entirely of the person,” to use a quote from a CFJC Today story.
But, even taking Perks and Knaack at face value, questions remained about the wisdom of sharing garbage on social media, even if you disagree with it. Communication, after all, is a big part of the chamber’s top job.
Yesterday afternoon, the board reversed itself and issued a terse news release saying Perks isn’t their guy after all.
It’s now the board who needs to answer a big question. How did it manage to screw up a hiring process so thoroughly that the preferred candidate is suddenly without the job he thought he had, and the chamber is left with Grade A egg all over its face?
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.