Board orientation session stirs up debate

Directors struggle with finding a date that is suitable for all

The most difficult task at Wednesday’s Strathcona Regional District meeting turned out to be trying to nail down a date for a director’s get-together.

Russ Hotsenpiller, the chief administrative officer of the regional district, tried to pencil in an orientation session for the board, which may see some directors return and others not, pending Saturday’s election results.

Directors Jim Abram and Gerald Whalley are guaranteed to return after being acclaimed but there will be at least one new face on the board as Director Mary Storry isn’t running for Campbell River city council.

Hotsenpiller had suggested the board orientation session be held Jan. 15, 2015 but that caused a stir among directors.

Abram said that date would be difficult for him to make and Area D Director Brenda Leigh thought it would make more sense to wait until after the election to decide on a date.

“I think it’s premature to set dates for a new board when many of them might not be here yet,” Leigh said. “There’s only two people here who have been re-elected by acclamation and everyone else might change so we need to talk to the new people.”

Leigh suggested the board defer the matter until the next board meeting, Nov. 27, after which time the election will have been decided.

Hotsenpiller said the board could wait, but directors would have to ensure they don’t fill up their schedule between now and then.

“The calendar will fill up and up,” said Hotsenpiller, who noted that his rationale for picking a date now is because the directors are so busy. “Your lives, or the people sitting around this table, between January to March 31, half of it is booked already with your obligations for your various jurisdictions around the budget process, with town hall budget meetings, municipal hall meetings, and regional district meetings.”

Director Claire Moglove said there was no need to put off scheduling the session.

“I think postponing to our next meeting won’t alleviate the problem. The new board doesn’t come in until the inaugural meeting in December anyways,” Moglove said. “Anyone running for office will know the SRD (Strathcona Regional District) meets Wednesdays and Thursdays and if they don’t know that – they should know that.

“I think we should move ahead with this January date.”

Abram, chair of the board, agreed, saying the board needed to move on.

“We have talked about it, more than we should have, and that’s my fault,” Abram said.

The board in the end, agreed to hold the orientation session on either January 14, 15 or 16. The board also approved holding an operational strategic planning session to set out the board’s vision and priorities on either Feb. 4 or 5. A visioning strategic priority planning session will be held sometime in May of 2015.