I was in the room yesterday when a very valued TNRD board colleague made a heartfelt request for the board chair to resign. Another board member agreed. Add these two to the one board colleague who said, in the past weeks, the Chair should resign.
Throughout this part of the meeting, and in fact throughout the whole meeting, the Chair diligently and respectfully recognized board members who wanted to so speak. And kept calm and collected.
There are 26 TNRD board members and I don't see broad support for the Chair to resign. I personally don't want the Chair to resign reasons I outline below.
First, a bit of context:
If you live in Kamloops or in the TNRD, you have very likely seen and/or heard about the spending issues, the departure of the former CAO, and the forensic audit, in amongst other related stories.
As a board, we have collectively taken responsibility for a previous lack of checks and balances, and we have tried hard to fix the most glaring issues. We have a long list of audit recommendations we have committed to implement.
I continue to believe sharing meals together, occasionally, builds relationships among this large board and assists us in making good collaborative decisions on behalf of our constituents. Does every meal have to be at a luxury restaurant. No. And do we need to eat together every meeting. No.
The TNRD, like any local government, puts great trust in the CAO. I don't think any director knew, at the time, the extent of the issues outlined in various media reports.
In October this year, the electorate will judge our performance trying to rectify these issues, and perhaps on many other issues.
We put our names forward to serve our communities in good times and in bad times. We know that and we expect to be criticised and held accountable.
There is though, in my view, a very real human side to this. Many of the board members under enormous stress. Not only with the spending issue, as one example, but also with devastation from extreme weather and managing through the pandemic. I've not even touched on any stresses in board members' personal life.
Sometimes it seems we go around and around. We need to get to the healing and fixing part of this whole conversation.
We've made mistakes collectively and individually but we are in a place today, with a new CAO and a series of recommendations, where we can successfully move forward and address citizen concerns. I think we acted in good faith and worked extremely hard to build back trust.
Here is why I support the current chair:
Through this two year span, if there is pressure and stress for board members, the stress and pressure on the board chair has been much greater.
I think the Chair has navigated the issues in question as best he could. I have heard the Chair explain his thought processes and actions and I base my view on listening to him carefully and, from time to time, providing feedback.
With a board of 26, we all have strong views about what should and should not be done. The Chair has also had to navigate all these different views. He was just recently re-elected to another year term as Chair.
I truly respect that others may not feel the same way. I don't want to see any board member penalized by the board for work done in the past couple of years. The voters can soon take care of what they feel needs keeping or fixing.
It's always been a bit of a miracle to me that the TNRD board, again with 26 different members, had historically functioned so well. We need to get on with lots of important work we have not been able to give due focus to the past while. I hope we come together to finish this term as strongly and as effectively as we can.