A move to make regional district board meeting votes transparent to the public was blocked at the board level recently with a resounding vote against.

The vote at the Regional District of Central Kootenay board of directors meeting on Sept. 14 went overwhelmingly against including a provision “to record votes opposed at regular board meetings, and to be automatically recorded in the minutes.”

Out of 20 votes only four were recorded as against with 16 not deciding in favour of transparency. 

The vote flies in the face of the declaration of rural appointment official (director), with the second of three sworn points to “promote openness, accountability and responsible leadership.”

Area A’s Garry Jackman, Area C director Kelly Vandenberge and Area E director Cheryl Graham, as well as Castlegar Mayor Maria McFaddin, were the only voices in favour of accountability.

Since RDCK board meetings are not recorded and neither are the specifics of each director’s vote, some regional district residents had come forward to request the amendment to force director transparency and accountability to the public.

A subsequent motion was recommended by Graham to refer to regional district staff for review on the “pros, cons and options for options of transparency.” The motion was passed with all directors in favour of the motion — with no date given for completion of the report, however.

According to Procedure Bylaws across 24 other B.C. regional districts, 13 always record negative votes, eight record negative votes at request, with two silent and one unknown.

The directors who were opposed to recording negative votes include Nelson councillor Keith Page, Roger Tierney (Area B), Aimee Watson (Area D), Tom Newell (Area F), Hans Cunningham (Area G), Walter Popoff (Area H) and Area I director Andy Davidoff.

Also against were directors Henny Hannegraaf (Area J), Teresa Weatherhead (Area K), mayor of Creston, Arnold DeBoon, Kaslo Mayor Suzan Hewat, mayor of Nakusp, Aidan McLaren and mayors Len Casley (New Denver), Diana Lockwood (Salmo), Colin Ferguson (Silverton) and Jessica Lunn (Slocan).

By Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Sep 30, 2023 at 02:49

This item reprinted with permission from   The Nelson Daily   Nelson, British Columbia
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