LETTER – Transparency, accountability by City council would be a good thing

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

On March 31, 2023, the Mayor requested that Councillor Neustaeter clarify her allegation that he had violated her personal boundaries, an allegation that she had made in writing on March 6 and repeated before the media on March 17. He asked for a written reply by April 7. She refused.

Instead, a special closed meeting of council was hastily arranged for April 6. During the brief open meeting that was required to approve the closed session, his questions were met with a warning against revealing confidential closed meeting information.

Firstly, the Community Charter requires that council members must keep in confidence any information considered during a closed meeting, until council as a whole decides to make such information public. So, how could the mayor possibly have revealed information considered during a closed meeting that had not yet begun and what “information” did he reveal?

The mayor asked if the proposed closed meeting was for legitimate council business or if it pertained to personal issues of one or more councillors. He was interrupted, but did not receive an answer.

Secondly, the Charter requires that any closed meeting of council be for one of the specific purposes enumerated in Section 90 and that the intended purpose be stated publicly in the agenda of the open council meeting.

In this instance, the stated purpose of the closed meeting was for“the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege …” pursuant to s. 90(1)(i).

The mayor wanted to know the subject matter of the legal advice council would be receiving and what lawyer would be providing such advice. Deputy corporate officer Amanda Passmore answered by asserting that no lawyer was required under this section.

Her statement was, to be polite, utter nonsense. Who, other than a lawyer, is qualified to give legal advice protected by solicitor-client privilege? A priest? A yoga instructor?

In reality, this closed meeting was a sham. It was not convened for the legitimate purpose of receiving legal advice. Rather, it was a clumsy attempt by council and staff to lower a cloak of “confidentiality” over communications that had been ongoing for several weeks among councillors and others, recorded in text messages, e-mails, non-closed meetings and voice mails, pertaining to accusations they had made, but were unable to justify.

Unfortunately, our eight councillors appear to lack the courage and integrity to back up their personal attacks on the mayor with facts or to even respond honestly and truthfully when asked about these matters by the mayor, by the media and by the citizens of Kamloops.

Let me suggest that any move on their part toward transparency and accountability would be good for them and for the community.


Note: David McMillan has acted as legal counsel for Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson.

About Mel Rothenburger (9634 Articles) 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 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.

7 Comments on LETTER – Transparency, accountability by City council would be a good thing

  1. Mac Gordon // April 13, 2023 at 5:01 PM // Reply

    Vague but scathing accusations by elected officials were made against the mayor, as an interested citizen I’d like to know if our mayor is indeed some type of political ogre or is his reputation being tarnished for political gain by members of council? I believe it is incumbent on those who are making these accusations to come clean and fully explain themselves.

  2. I think the most important line here is:

    “Note: David McMillan has acted as legal counsel for Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson.”

    That knocks this letter into just more rhetoric slewing nonsense.

    What I find interesting is that it appears it was not Mr. McMillan who volunteered this important tidbit of information, but our publisher added it … even though the writers point in the letter revolved around transparency and accountability.

    Note the juxtaposition.

    I came, I read … and then I disregarded.

    • I think the most important thing here is the content of the letter which is well written and makes a lot of sense. Basically asking Katie et al to backup accusations is reasonable and truthful and no reasonable person should have a problem with that.

  3. Good grief, we really need the BC Government to fire the whole lot and force a new election. 3 1/2 more years of this will be terrible for Kamloops. I suggest the council run as a slate, since they are already acting like a slate, and propose a new mayor from their group. I suggest the mayor put together a slate of councillors to run. Let the people of Kamloops choose between one or the other and we can get on with the business of solving our city’s many problems.

  4. sandi dalgleish // April 12, 2023 at 10:15 AM // Reply

    I wish they would all grow up and act like the responsible elected to office people we need to run our city effectively and efficiently. thank you

  5. Sheila Park // April 12, 2023 at 9:38 AM // Reply

    Dear Mayor and Council,
    Please get a mediator and get this sorted so that you stop embarrassing our city – and get running it. Play nice.
    I have total sympathy for our city staff who have to work through this fiasco.
    Please do it in private. We do not want to ruin our cities reputation any more.
    Dear media stop using this for ratings. You are not helping. You are getting worse than Fox Fiction.

  6. Bronwen Scott // April 12, 2023 at 9:21 AM // Reply

    The continual badgering of the mayor must stop. And where’s the accountability? Councillors seem to be making defamatory comments that they don’t have to support with any evidence. How is that legal? It sure isn’t ethical.

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