Secret ballot decides SRD appointment

A secret ballot was forced to decide an external appointment for one Strathcona Regional District director

A secret ballot was forced to decide an external appointment for one Strathcona Regional District director after the board rejected the chair’s recommendation.

At last week’s Thursday meeting, directors had to choose between Area C Director Jim Abram and Campbell River Director Larry Samson. Abram was Chair John MacDonald’s recommended appointee to the Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP) for 2017 but Campbell River Director Charlie Cornfield instead nominated Samson.

Cornfield said it made sense for Samson to take part in MaPP, a partnership between 17 First Nations and the provincial government that has developed plans for marine uses on the coast. Samson is already on a committee that is working to get the North Island accredited as a Whale Heritage site and Cornfield thought as such, the MaPP appointment would be fitting.

He did, however, ask if the regional district could have two representatives on MaPP so that Abram could retain his spot.

But Abram told Cornfield that the MaPP format calls for “one director” and fought to keep his place on MaPP.

“They have requested that I come back for continuity because it would be virtually impossible for anyone to pick up the information that had been developed over the past four or five years,” Abram said. “If anybody has heard anything contrary to the fact that I get along well and work well with the others, it is completely false.I’ve been doing my job for local government, I’ve been there since the beginning, I’ve contributed considerably, done a huge amount of work for our local government,” Abram added. Cornfield, though said his nomination “wasn’t in response to any performance issues from the director” but rather for a different perspective. After the dust settled, and ballots were cast, it was Samson who came out on the winning end. Abram was appointed as the alternate. Samson said he believes he can serve the regional district well.

“I feel I can add fresh eyes to it.” The board, did, however, approve a motion to ask MaPP if the regional district can have two representatives. If that proves to be possible, Abram will be the second.