Letter to Editor: Ken vs Fran over Quesnel Gate issue

October 23, 2011

Dear Editor:                                                                                      
 
In reference to the opinion expressed by Fran MacPherson in the Quesnel Cariboo Observer dated October 14, 2011 bylined “Team Mentality Needed.” I agree with the byline heading, but respectfully disagree with some statements in her letter.

 

Fran states in her letter, “I am astounded at the blatant politicking on the city’s finances and spending that has been created by Councillors Thapar and Paull.” That statement in my opinion is the epitome of a misconception on Fran’s part. Councillor Thapar is trying to do the job we elected him to do. The unnecessary costs incurred and the wasted time involved would not have happened if the mayor and the city manager had not attempted to refuse the Chair of the Finance Portfolio, councillor Thapar, access to his portfolio. It was exclusively the mayor and the city manager that created and continued their efforts to prevent disclosure of travel expense abuse that are responsible for the resultant waste of time and money. It was NOT councillor Thapar or councillor Paull.

The mayor and the city manager could obviously not interpret the Freedom of Information Act exclusion section in city bylaw 1297 Appendix 1, item 75(5). A 54-word regulation any normal elementary school child could understand; so, they ordered a legal interpretation in a last desperate attempt to block councillor Thapar from getting access to his portfolio and their travel expenses. Their efforts of course failed. This vindictive action by the mayor and city manager wasted $2,892.96 for unnecessary legal costs of hard-earned taxpayer money and only further begged the question; “what have they got to hide?”

Fran further states, “After thoroughly digesting their comments and letters, I did the math and discovered that the discrepancies add up to less than 0.008 percent of the city’s annual budget.” Her discovery has no basis in fact. Councillor Thapar could not get access to his portfolio, did Fran? Surely, she did not base her calculations on the expose that councilor Paull wrote. He stated he only got through about a third of the documents that confronted him. However, let's put the 0.008 percentage rate that Fran used into perspective. Supposing Fran was assessed an annual property Tax bill of $2892.96. As outlined above, the mayor and the city manager wasted her money. Would she consider her tax payment of $2892.96 minuscule and well spent?

Finally, Fran states in part: “Certainly we need honesty, integrity and transparency, but first and foremost we need representatives who are willing to work together as a team…” I suggest that if we have honesty, integrity, and transparency by all council members then team cooperation will automatically follow.
 
Ken Butchard
Quesnel