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COMMENTARY · 11th November 2011
Walter McFarlane
At the All Candidates Forum on November 3rd, Mayor Joanne Monaghan, a candidate for Mayor, said the following.

“The Remuneration that was given to the past CAO, we had no choice because it was written in a contract. If the contract had been taken to court, we would have paid a lot more.”

The question asked at City Council on Monday, November 7th was; Did Monaghan breach confidence by saying this in a public forum?

It has become public knowledge that Former Municipal Manager, Trafford Hall, would only be paid a severance if he was let go from his position with the District of Kitimat. By stating there was no case where the District could argue against his severance settlement, Monaghan tells us that he was indeed fired, which differs from her statement made at the time, his leaving was a mutual decision between the two people.

However Randy Halyk also slipped up in the forum. He uses the word dismissed to describe how Hall left. Again, this is not mutual.

Let’s pause for a second and be smart about this, be logical about this. There are more then enough rumours spreading around the community as to why Trafford Hall left. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes said: “When you have eliminated the impossible, what ever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

Logically, if Hall left the District of Kitimat and could still lay claim to his severance package without so much of a fuss from Council, this means he did not leave the District of Kitimat as people say, but was let go. Monaghan’s and Halyk’s statements at the Forum confirm this.

To be honest, this looks, in this mans opinion, like Monaghan got rid of Hall to hire a new Municipal Manager and say: “Hey look what I did, vote for me!” at the cost of $250,000 to the tax payers in addition to the costs for hiring a new Municipal Manager.

The reason many items are kept secret and off the record (In Camera) is because there are people out there who will take advantage of such information to attack an individual, raise their prices for their land or services or simply try to take the project for themselves. This is not the first time either of these two have spilled the beans on information which is supposed to be kept In Camera.

At a luncheon during Senior’s Week in 2009, Monaghan told the guests of the Snowflake Senior’s Centre there was an investor considering putting a conference centre on the old hospital lands and it was in its final stages. However, within two weeks, a press release from Kitamaat Village told the community they had secured the old hospital lands. Was it this unfortunate release of confidential information that led to the land being secured by another party?

While this might just be an odd coincidence, it is not the only one. During the Christmas season of 2010, Monaghan opened her first campaign statement by telling the community from Council the council table, the Mayors chair, she had 5 investors looking to ship out of the Eurocan wharf. Low and behold, the wharf was bought by Rio Tinto Alcan shortly afterwards.

Similarly, at public meeting I was at earlier this year, Monaghan released private information, to the community members gathered there, concerning one of her task forces. I have also been informed that she tells people Council secrets at other meetings, but as I cannot attend those meetings, I can neither confirm nor deny these allegations.

If an elected official cannot keep in camera items secret, they should not be eligible for running for mayor or council. It is an issue of duty and trust for the public good.
Re: Virgil Presenting at Council Meetings
Comment by Bill Vollrath on 16th November 2011
Are there really other cities where the public just shows up at the council meeting and everyone and anyone gets to present suggestions or concerns to the council without having to previously arrange to get on the agenda? I think that would make for long, unproductive meetings, don't you? Maybe that's partly why our council meetings had the reputation of being gong shows. Perhaps the gallery was causing a lot of the disfunction. I think the council members were trying to think of ways to get the meetings under better control and the idea to have to presenters from the public placed on the agenda was just one way. I think it's a good one too. Nothing personal Virgil, just my thoughts on that.
Virgil
Comment by Brenda Mitchell on 12th November 2011
Criticism of our elected officials may be our basic right but mudslinging and personal attacks are a totally different thing.I am surprised Joanne hasnt been blamed for the lack of sunshine we had this summer since a certain group of people blame her for anything and everything that has gone wrong in our community.On a positive note I am happy to hear that no one was asked not to run in this election as they were in our byelection-nothing democratic about that.
Open and Transparent
Comment by VIRGIL VALES on 11th November 2011
In this election there has been a lot of talk of open and transparent municipal government but is it only talk or are the people asking us to elect them, just talking for the sake of getting elected.Democracy is a fragile thing,for many years the citizens of this community used to be able to go to a council meeting and be able to address council, if they had a issue or a question.Shortly after the last election this was changed and now you have to get yourself on the council's agenda.Criticism of your elected officials is a basic right in a truly free democracy,that is why they are called public officials.Citizens of this community should be demanding that be changed back so that tax payers hold their elected officials accountable.