Thursday February 9, 2012
Seen But Not Heard
Democracy's prodding fingers rapped at FVRD
VRD Directors Dennis Adamson and Wendy Bales were visibly disappointed with the outcome of a motion brought forward by Chair Sharon Gaetz negating the ability of directors, who have not been appointed to a committee, to be able to sit at the table and participate in discussions. FVRD Dir. Adamson speaks to Chair Gatez at meeting.
"The work of the committee is done by the committee and so if you are sitting there and have a burning question, or you want to participate in the debate, I just want to let you know that you can come and talk to either one of the chairs after," explained Gaetz. "But do let the committees do the work they are supposed to be doing and the people who are elected to go to particular committees or are appointed are the ones who are encouraged to participate."
Adamson disagreed, saying that it was a aberration from the way they've always done things.
In the past, directors were permitted to sit-in on discussions, which involved their electoral areas much of the time, however they were not allowed to vote on the issue.
"Last year we were allowed to sit at the table and have a discussion," said Adamson.
Gaetz then explained that the system needs to be streamlined.
"There are a lot of (board and committee) members, and I found what happened in our last meeting, although the information that was coming forward was always helpful, it slowed down the process considerably," said Gaetz.
Adamson then set forth a challenge to the chair on the motion and Bales seconded it.
"They weren't allowed to vote, but they were allowed to participate in the discussion and this is changing the whole dynamics and I challenge that," said Adamson.
A show of hands supported Gaetz.
After the meeting, Bales told the Voice that she can't do her job properly now with the new bylaw.
"When they incorporated the environmental and the parks into the executive, a lot of those issues are electoral area issues, so if you're not there to talk about those issues, then you're not really covering your area," she said, adding that "it would have been nice to have been included in those decisions, because otherwise they don't necessarily go forward to the board."
"Actually, what they are doing is they are eliminating debate and this is a way of killing democracy. If there's no debate, they can do whatever they want," said Adamson. "So what they say to you, is that, you can pull it out at board night and argue it, but it's already been voted on by half the board."
"This is extremely disappointing. What they did last year was they cut down the committees, eliminated us but then they allowed us to come and sit at the table and be involved in the discussion without a vote, which was bad enough, but now what they've done is take us away from the table completely. They've put us into the public (realm). We're elected to represent our people, and this is not allowing us to do it."
Gaetz suggested if directors have questions, they can see someone on the committee and voice their opinion with them.
"I didn't get elected to pass my voice to somebody else," says Adamson.
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