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REPORTING · 11th August 2010
Walter McFarlane
Dark Clouds on a Bright Summer’s Day: Part 7

Mayor Joanne Monaghan brought a letter forward at the City Council Meeting on Monday, August 3rd under new business. She explained it had arrived that afternoon. “In answer I guess to several of the ‘incompetancies’ that I have been charged with, one is confidentiality and I would like to read this too you tonight.”

Dear Mayor Monaghan

Confidentiality and professionalism

We at Sandhill Materials Inc. were very upset to learn that your ethical conduct has come under scrutiny. In our discussions regarding confidentiality, it seems to me, that we mutually agreed that there were many issues, on the part of both parties, that would not be open to discussion and others that would be discussed but must remain confidential. To that end we entered a legally binding confidentiality agreement between our company and yourself.

We, who have had the opportunity to meet with you, have been very impressed with the level of professionalism that you have shown in business and the sincere commitment you have in your enthusiasm and conscientiousness for the growth of the community you serve.

We, at Sandhill, are prepared to draw any affidavit to support our sincere belief that any business conducted between our two parties, was and has been handled with the highest degree of ethical behavior and fully complies with the parameters of any verbal and written confidentiality agreement we have between us.

I know that you understand how important it is, at this time, that any discussions or negotiations that we are currently involved in, not be discussed publicly. Many of our undertakings are of such a delicate nature that they would be seriously compromised by such a serious breach of information exchange.

With best regards

Ken Enders, CEO

Councillor Randy Halyk appeared to be ready to leap from his seat.

“I would submit that it was illegal of you to sign a confidentiality agreement without Council being involved in that,” said Halyk.

“I didn’t sign a confidentiality agreement. I know it says that there but I did not sign it,” said Monaghan.

“Then why would you read that then?” asked Halyk.

“Because that’s the way the letter came,” replied Monaghan.

“In any case, I believe that Council has a right to be… and through George Cuff… his writings talk about this: That everything that the Mayor knows, Council should also be aware of and that’s important for us to be able to lead and do our jobs,” said Halyk.

“I think you heard what he said. Some of these things would not have happened if I had discussed this with you,” said Monaghan.

“We are not a public, we have all done our oath and we would not be telling the public anything that is In Camera. And if you say that we have, I will take you…” started Halyk.

“What are you going to do,” challenged Monaghan.

“Take you to task…” replied Halyk.

“It sounded much worse then that,” said Monaghan.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff thanked Monaghan for sharing the information and suggested they have Cuff discuss the issue confidential information with them. Monaghan replied: “It was a verbal, it wasn’t a signing but it was a confidential agreement and I did say and I did email that I would not and promised I would not…” said Monaghan before Feldhoff cut her off to suggest this be one of the topics sent to Cuff.

Councillor Gerd Gottschling was concerned they were not following decorum and the rules of conduct. Feldhoff replied they should share this letter with Cuff so they know how these situations should be carried out in the future as well as the concerns by Halyk. Gottschling expressed he agreed with sharing this with Cuff. However, something which had happened earlier did not sit right.

“When I read to you a quote from Mr. Cuff, you were indicating that that is not pertinent. You chastised me for speaking out what the people of Kitimat are recognizing every day. They see rancour and discord in this Council and I’m trying to bring that to this council and the sooner we get Mr. Cuff involved… now that by the way would be the 3rd consultant that we’re introducing. When are we going to read and understand the Rules and Regulations and Rules of Engagement. That’s what I’m asking,” said Gottschling.

Feldhoff suggested it had little to do with the consultants but how the Councillors debate in Council.

“I find it very, very interesting that your saying decorum and all these many things and yet the people who are talking about it the most are the ones who are doing it,” said Monaghan.

Halyk clarified the letter came to Council and was put on the desk at the end of the meeting. Monaghan replied it had come to here half an hour before the meeting. With that, Monaghan closed the meeting and Council went in Camera.

Monaghan also stated the agreement was not a signed contract but a verbal agreement and a handshake.