Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Officials expected to declare conflicts

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Recently, I was attacked in my own yard under the cover of darkness by two individuals who had their faces covered and were armed.

I, like most of our readers, live a pretty simple life, and there is no doubt in my mind and the minds of many others in our community that this was an attack from individuals who wanted to send a message.

Thankfully, I was able to fight and fend off this cowardly, criminal act and sustained minor injuries. The RCMP have an ongoing active major crimes investigation underway into this matter. No person in our society, elected or non-elected, should have to experience this type ofcriminal act.

As leaders in the region, we have to provide leadership and governance that on numerous occasions requires us as your elected officials to make decisions that may effect individuals and/or businesses to varying degrees. It is difficult to satisfy all with our decisions or recommendations through the quasi-judicial process that we represent as a local municipal government.

Over the past 12 years in which I personally have been involved in thousands of decisions, I can only point to a few times that someone or an organization felt they were wronged and made statements as such. In all cases that I have been involved with, I can advise we take all comments seriously and under consideration, on all matters prior to rendering a decision.

Those decisions are to be made based on a number of criteria, including "Is this the best decision that will serve the community as a whole for the long term?"

Every four years, communities make decisions to elect those they feel will best represent their constituents in a fair and objective manner, and in a manner that the elected official does not have any "direct" or "indirect" conflict of interest with any matter before council or the board that they may be involved with.  

This may include any item that may be on the agenda or ongoing discussions that relate to the item through the Municipal Act or Planning Act  or other Provincial legislation.

There is also the perception of those involved in making these decisions that they may have a perceived "conflict of interest." Unfortunately, the legislation on these matters as it pertains to conflict of interest, in many peoples’ opinions, are too vague and unfortunately it is up to the individual him or herself to decide.

These rules have most recently, through legislation, been applied to any person who is on staff to also declare an "interest" should they have one as per the legislation.

As the mayor, and previously as a councilor and board member, I can advise that this idea of conflict of interest, be it direct, indirect or perceived, is consistently one of the biggest concerns for residents, developers, investors, staff and fellow members of council in any community.

The moral expectation is that anyone who has a conflict in any of the aforementioned forms to make the declaration at any meeting or discussion on the matter and leave the room.

The most important item to remember is it is you, as a voter, who puts that person in office where the expectation is fairness, objectivity and that a personal, honest declaration will be made on any matters that may have one of the three prerequisites as noted: direct, indirect, or perceived.

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