Saturday, September 27, 2008

Concerned citizens appeal to Victoria for assistance on City council issues

The group of concerned citizens, who led the recent citizen’s invasion of City Hall at the last council meeting, have taken a new direction in their quest for accountability from the Mayor and City Council over the Tanalee Hesse hiring.

Not feeling particularly reassured by Council’s decision to have a third party advise them over the issues involved in the Mayors hiring of Ms. Hesse, the citizens group has now asked three different provincial government agencies to weigh in with an opinion.

The group is seeking some provincial guidance on the process that the City embarked upon regarding the now controversial hiring and the subsequent action taken by council, regarding the concerns raised in council chambers at the September 8th meeting.

The hiring of Ms. Tesse has proven to be a rather hot political issue for the Mayor through August and resulted in a rather vocal uproar in the community over the last few months.

In a press release issued earlier this week, the concerned citizens advised that they have made submissions to the Minister of Community Development, Blair Lekstrom, as well as the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Information and Privacy Commissioner's Office.

Their intent in the three submissions is to determine if the City of Prince Rupert followed it’s obligations as outlined in the Community Charter and to make sure that they are honouring the spirit of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

In their press release the group suggested that the recent moves by Prince Rupert Council “do little to strip away perceptions local citizens have that nepotism, cronyism and incompetence are the most identifiable characteristics of their local City Administration.”
The group also believes that by their actions “the City contravened the Community Charter”, a concern which they would like to see the Minister of Community Development (Mr. Lekstrom) provide some guidance on.
Perhaps he had time to investigate things first hand during this week's UBCM gathering in Penticton, where Council members and the Mayor would have be handy to discuss some of the finer points of the controversial situation percolating up in the Northwest.

The latest development on the controversy provides a not so subtle indication that this issue, while out of the spotlight for the moment, isn’t going to go away any time soon, and very well may make for a key election issue when the November Municipal vote comes around.

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