An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE NEW KAMLOOPS COUNCIL will get a chance Tuesday to send a message that it can think for itself rather than relying on what it’s fed by its bureaucrats.
At its first regular meeting, the council will receive a report from staff recommending that the City accept an opportunity to boost council representation on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board to seven from six.
By provincial law, the number of municipal directors on regional district boards is determined by population, and Kamloops has very slightly crept over the threshold entitling it to seven.
To repeat, there’s no practical advantage to it. The City already enjoys a majority vote on TNRD budget matters due to a weighted vote system. Kamloops doesn’t need more clout on the TNRD board.
A seventh director would simply cost City taxpayers an extra $15,000 or so in stipends for that director.
Outgoing councillor Denis Walsh saw this, and attempted a notice of motion at his last meeting to reject the extra director. That motion was, unfortunately, punted to the new council.
Strangely, even though his motion was “postponed,” the staff doesn’t present leaving the position vacant as one of the options within its recommendations.
Instead, it suggests appointment of the seventh director. Pointing out that the TNRD’s letters patent would need to be amended to keep the number of City directors to six, and in order to accommodate the City’s newly allowable voting strength, the staff basically ignores Walsh’s proposal.
With incumbent Coun. Dale Bass likely to declare a conflict of interest on the vote based on the fact she would become the seventh director, the decision will be almost entirely up to the newbies.
Will they take the common sense route and direct staff to make the necessary arrangements with the TNRD to keep the number to six, or simply go along with the costly and unnecessary option recommended by staff?
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, 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.