The little understood and frequently ignored Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District may soon find that curious Rupertites will be keeping a more watchful eye on its happenings and its budgetary requests.
With the termination of a nineteen year employee recently, Regional District has found itself in the midst of a bit of a political hurricane, with severance due to the terminated employee and a rather serious split of the voting members of the District not to mention a rather poorly timed request for more money.
The entire process has been under the microscope at the Queen Charlotte Islands Observer and at the local website princerupert.com, which has waded in with a number of articles on the state of affairs at Regional District.
The Daily News gathered up some interesting information of its own on the story for Wednesday’s paper including details of the request for an additional 243,007 dollars from the taxpayers, as well as the current status of personnel matters at the District offices and the plans for a couple of high paying jobs to come.
A rather nice option for a form of government that few have dealings with on a daily basis, and probably couldn’t explain what it is that they do anyways.
More importantly it sheds a light on a form of government locally that seems to do much of its work whether by public ignorance or by design, behind closed doors and out of any public debate.
Which begs the question; Do we really need a Regional District? Perhaps suspending this form of the governmental process would send a message to Victoria about how dire finances are up here for the moment.
Rupertites must surley wonder just what kind of blank cheque is expected from the increasingly siphoned off Prince Rupert taxpayer base?
Most of all we have to wonder if any of these latest developments are gooing to be able to pass the smell test?
TAXPAYERS ON THE HOOK AS OFFICIAL 'RELIEVED OF DUTIES'
The Daily News
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
For the first time Friday night, directors of the Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District admitted they are in the process of terminating Janet Beil, administrator-planner and employee of 19 years.
Director Tony Briglio brought up the issue during budget deliberations at the regional district’s regular public meeting in order to explain why the district will be asking taxpayers for an additional $243,000 in 2007.
“When there is an administrative individual that gets relieved of duties there’s a cost to the organization for that. That’s what this budget represents,” said Briglio, director for the city of Prince Rupert and vice chair.
Given that it appears the district will pay Beil severance, the termination would likely be considered ‘without cause’. However, the cost of that severance has not yet been released.
Work at the regional district has been choppy since Beil was suspended a month and a half ago in what appears to have been a decision that split the board.
Des Nobels, Ian Hetman and Karl Bergman all were rumoured to have opposed the suspension.
Beil’s signing authority for financial transactions was removed at the last regional district meeting a month ago.
Board members have been trying to keep the decision behind closed doors.
Previously, when asked directly by the Daily News if she had been suspended, board chair Barry Pages said Beil was “off sick” and “out of the office”. Yet, he reportedly told the Queen Charlotte Island Observer she had been suspended and then reinstated.
Now, Pages says they have posted for a new position, Chief Administrative Officer, and an ad was posted last Friday.
Since then, Tana Lee Hesse has been appointed as interim administrator. Previously, Hesse filled in as interim corporate administrator for the city of Prince Rupert following the departure of Tom Ireland. She moved to Prince Rupert with her husband, Prince Rupert’s chief administrative officer, Gord Howie.
According to the job positing, the salary range for a Chief Administrative Officer would be in the $80,000 to $90,000 per year range and would be “commensurate with qualifications”.
Pages noted the regional district is also seeking an manager of operations.
The district previously posted for the position but was unable to find a qualified candidate.
To find out how to subscribe to the Daily News (we can mail the paper anywhere), please give us a call at (250) 624-6785 or call toll free 1-800-343-0022.