Monday October 15th 7 to 8 pm during an unusually dry meeting of rezonings, leases, plans and finally a report from water councillors….
Rick Machial to CFO Devon Wannop “was any of the water fund used to seek a legal opinion on duties of a water councillor?”
Andre Miller to Mayor Hovanes – “why was this legal opinion sought and what did water councillors do in creating a problem that needed a legal opinion? When was the meeting held to make this decision and why were water councillors not invited?”
CAO Cathy Cowan told the public meeting that ‘the gathering’ was in February and the minutes were recorded and circulated later.
Mayor Hovanes admitted that he was the “big push” on this matter and that in the last term there was questions from every council member on why water councillors were discussing non-water matters.
Both Oliver Water Councillors indicated that for the last 28 years, they had been invited to all meetings and strategic planning sessions, council dinners and events.
Rick Machial said the decision was wrong, the legal opinion had flaws when read in the context of the Order in Council and Letters Patent dissolving SOLID and the formation of a town and country water utility.
The Mayor said staff will investigate all the statements made at Monday’s meeting and report back two weeks from now.
Hovanes stated that a municipal council has procedures that are different than at the regional district table where 18 directors discuss issues and then 910 municipal directors do NOT vote on rural issues.
Couple of questions from this intrepid reporter:
So a closed meeting was arranged in February to discuss issue not thought as “a water matter” just procedural = but once the legal opinion arrived 8 months later, council convened in a closed meeting with water councillors present and talked about a legal opinion that diminishes the role of water councillors.
Does not make much sense to me!
Another point – I served as a member of this council from 2005 to 2017 – 12 years – and never a conversation about water councillors doing too much talking or interfering in Town business that was not their purview.
I don’t want to call anyone a liar. But there were a few “misstatements” made Monday night. It was a letter from a lawyer not a judgment in court. It needs to be reviewed.
Most council members seemed in full retreat not saying a word. Only Councillor Mattes wanted to engage in debate.
Last point I asked the Mayor to bring back to council this decision. He did not. The water councilors did it by themselves. Who is leading who?