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EDITORIAL: Clearing the decks
It was about 15 months ago, and we weren't really sure what instigated the discussion, or more accurately, the impetus behind a passionate statement released by Qualicum Beach Coun. Dave Willie.
We have a better idea now, although Willie will not, cannot, and could not then, elaborate or provide details as to the origin of his concerns.
It was May, 2013 and Willie sent an e-mail to The NEWS, expressing his frustration regarding what was happening behind closed doors at town hall.
"Over the last 16 months, this council has endured endless hours of in-camera meetings," Willie wrote, being careful not to provide the in-camera details. "Although many of those meetings were reasonable and the results were good for the town, in my view many were not. The sometimes endless discussions centred on important town issues that required a consensus of four of the five members of council. I believe that some of the results protected private interests more than public interests."
He made a motion at the next council meeting to direct staff "to find a method of paying out unused holidays, older than the one year to ensure a clear policy is in effect to prevent accumulation in the future. The banking of unused sick days should also be explored to see what policy exists in neighbouring municipalities. Over the last number of councils, holiday time, time given for extra hours, etc. has been allowed to accumulate with the result being hundreds of hours banked, at costs exceeding $100,000. More importantly, staff needs to take time off to enjoy with their family, friends and community. It's also crucial that the town receive the full-time efforts of staff on a full-week basis, not reduced by banked holidays from 10 years ago."
The staff report related to that motion will be in front of council this coming Monday, which is coincidentally six days after our reporter Lissa Alexander's exclusive story about the town paying severance, holiday pay and sick leave pay totaling more than $370,000 to two senior staffers in the past 10 months.
The silver lining in all of this? The decks are being cleared of old business just before the Sept. 2 arrival of new town hall boss Daniel Sailland.
— Editorial by John Harding