‘The water councillors may be excused’
Decades of tradition came to an end early this evening when the town’s two water councillors were asked to leave the chamber about 10 minutes into the new council’s first regular meeting.
To begin the meeting, long-time Water Councillor Rick Machial and newly-elected Parminder Sidhu took the usual spots at the two ends of the U-shaped council table. But shortly after things got under way, and well before the meat of the agenda, Mayor Martin Johansen said: “The water councillors may be excused from the council table. The water matters are complete.”
The new policy follows a decision made by the old council in September. Based on a legal opinion, the policy says water councillors are not entitled to participate in discussions beyond matters related to the town’s water system, which also serves rural parts of the community.
Machial, along with the recently defeated Andre Miller, occupied the two chairs for 28 years, participating in discussions on everything but voting only about water.
In a letter to ODN in October, Machial said: “What I find very sad is that council will lose rural perspective on all matters affecting our community.”
Code of conduct sent back for fine-tuning
A draft Employee Code of Conduct brought before council for approval was punted back for staff to examine two changes proposed by Councillor Dave Mattes.
The code, which will join earlier documents covering the fire department and members of town council, stipulates expected conduct for the town’s union and non-union staff.
Mattes suggested the code needs two additions:
- A requirement for employees to inform the own if they have “outside jobs;” and
- The right of non-union employees to have a “representative” with them during discussions of breaches of the code. (Union employees are entitled to have a shop steward present during disciplinary discussions.)
The draft policy was referred back to staff for possible inclusion of the suggestions, although chief administrative officer Cathy Cowan said she will have to check if the town’s contract with the CUPE would allow compulsory disclosure of other employment.
Christmas light-up set for November 23
Council agreed tonight to help the Oliver Business Association acquire liability insurance for the annual light-up celebration slated for later this month.
The town’s approval allows the group to purchase cheaper insurance through the Municipal Insurance Association of BC. The association will pay the $250 premium and any deductible changes.
The light-up celebration, which marks the official start of Christmas celebrations in the town, will take place Friday, November 23.
Much of the activity will be centred in the old Mesa Hotel property on Main Street. Light-up weekend usually involves Christmas choirs, the arrival of Santa, a giant bonfire and fireworks.
by Roy Wood