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TNRD – Board imposes two-drink limit on itself for events it hosts

By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Area P, TNRD

Should taxpayers pay for the alcohol consumed by directors at events hosted by the TNRD? If so, how much?

Those were questions faced by regional district directors Thursday (July 16, 2020) at our regular meeting.

The upshot is a two-drink limit at future events hosted by the TNRD. The decision came after a spirited debate on tidying up the board’s hospitality policy that raised the question of how much wine and beer directors should be allowed at TNRD-hosted events.

It came up as part of a two-part recommendation, the first of which was to clarify whether the TNRD should pay for attendance of directors’ spouses at such events. The answer to that one was a no-brainer: no. Directors must pay for attendance of spouses out of their own pockets.

That, in fact, has already been the practice but the next part was harder. The second recommendation stated, “Amend the Hospitality Policy so that alcohol is restricted to beer and wine only for all hosted events, including the UBCM hosted dinner, and that such approval shall be at the discretion of the Board Chair and Vice Chair only.”

That prompted a comment from Director Sally Watson summing up opposition from a number of directors to the concept of taxpayers paying for board members’ alcohol. “I can’t believe we’re considering this,” she said.

I agreed with her, and moved an amendment to the recommendation that “alcohol at TNRD-hosted events will be by cash bar only.”

Directors who didn’t like that approach argued that cracking down on alcohol would make the TNRD seem niggardly when we’re hosting others and that such events are important for networking. I should clarify that there aren’t a lot of these events. The main example is a dinner hosted by the TNRD at the annual UBCM convention. My understanding is that this dinner was established many years ago as a substitute for a UBCM banquet for all delegates, the tickets for which are quite pricey.

Instead, the TNRD hosts our MLAs, council reps from municipalities within its boundaries and some staff at a restaurant. Not all directors attend.

I think a Christmas social and the occasional reception are the only other gatherings that would bring the policy into play.

I know where directors who support open bars are coming from but, as Director Watson said, it comes down to whether taxpayers should be on the hook for it.

Vote totals and individual votes by directors aren’t usually tallied but I asked for a roll-call vote, with my amendment being defeated 14-11.

Director Al Raine (Sun Peaks), who supported my amendment, then suggested that the policy state alcohol should be provided only in “modest” amounts. Director Robin Smith (Logan Lake), who opposed my amendment, put that into her own motion to amend with the word “moderate” but the discussion turned to how to define moderate and who would decide.

That’s where the idea of a two-drink limit was raised, and it prevailed after further debate. Some directors felt it also addresses liability concerns. Directors who voted against it were split between those who thought it should be higher, and those who thought it should be zero.

Those of us who oppose the TNRD paying for alcohol at events can, of course, pay for their drinks ourselves or simply not drink.

I have a feeling the issue might well come up for reconsideration in future. I’d be interested in hearing any thoughts taxpayers might have on it.

About Mel Rothenburger (7836 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

6 Comments on TNRD – Board imposes two-drink limit on itself for events it hosts

  1. Beverley Campbell // July 19, 2020 at 10:32 AM // Reply

    Unbelievable to think that elected persons are even considering sticking the public with paying for their drinks, of course an open bar, of course make your own decision as to how much to drink, of course do not expect the public to pay for even one drop of YOUR drinking, imagine if you drink two drinks in this no tolerance world and then you are in a car crash on the way home?
    Is the public expected to then stand up and be counted as the source of your two drinks?

  2. Victoria Sparrow // July 19, 2020 at 10:14 AM // Reply

    I cannot believe this is happening in this day and age! These kind of policies are ignorant and arrogant given the issues that are facing our province & the world. What an atrocious sense of entitlement. It appears that BC is behind the rest of the country in still allowing these kinds of policies. I was astounded to see that our health care system in BC still allowed for conference & events to be funded by big pharmaceutical companies until ~ 6 years ago. This was stopped in the 1990’s everywhere else. What a backward thinking environment! Discusting,,
    Victoria Sparrow
    East Barriere Lake

  3. There are people struggling to pay for food for their family and were being asked if we want to pay for their alcohol. Is this for real. No!!! Why in the world would we want tax money taken from us to buy something completely unnecessary, for them to enjoy?

  4. Ian MacKenzie // July 17, 2020 at 6:54 PM // Reply

    Completely agree with John!

  5. John Noakes // July 17, 2020 at 5:37 PM // Reply

    I can’t believe this is even being discussed. The year is 2020 and certainly, the notion of people needing booze for every “social” event should go the way of the dinosaur.

    Drink on your own time and on your own nickel. Leave the taxpaying public out of the equation.

    • Good John, I feel the same way. Drinks should be allowed but brought in by the representatives themselves and them being subject to a breathalyzer before leaving the premises. BTW, if a representative is caught “driving under the influence“ it should be fired immediately.

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