Board refuses to accommodate director and reschedule meeting

A Strathcona Regional District director couldn’t hide his disappointment with his fellow directors

A Strathcona Regional District director couldn’t hide his disappointment with his fellow directors after they refused to accommodate his request to reschedule a board meeting.

Directors were set to approve next year’s meeting schedule when Area C Director Jim Abram noticed a conflict.

Abram asked directors if they would consider changing a board meeting slated for Feb. 23 to one week prior – the week of Feb. 13 – so that Abram could attend a Union of British Columbia (UBCM) executive meeting in Victoria.

“Being on the UBCM executive, I feel, is a privilege and it’s also a help to this board,” Abram said. “So I have asked for some leeway a couple of time.”

Abram asked the board to accommodate him last year for a similar scenario. The answer last year was no.

It was the same refrain this year.

Campbell River Director Larry Samson said he was opposed to making any changes to the meeting schedule that regional district staff put so much work into, trying to accommodate each director and all of their appointments to outside boards and organizations, as well as municipal directors’ council meetings.

“We all as directors have other duties,” Samson said. “Staff has said this is as good as it gets. We all have alternates, we all have other choices. We have to prioritize.”

Area D Director Brenda Leigh echoed that.

“In years past…the chair would issue the schedule and that would be it,” Leigh said.

“And if you can’t make it, well that’s just too bad and there was no operational interference from the board about changing the dates or anything like that. The chair should issue the schedule for the year and that should be the schedule and you work around the schedule.”

That disappointed Abram.

“In my 13 years on UBCM, I have heard numerous other districts stand up and congratulate and applaud their local governments for supporting their attendance at UBCM and the work they do at UBCM on behalf of them provincially,” Abram said. “And I can’t say that.”

Board Chair John MacDonald challenged that.

“With all due respect, we all do support you and we all congratulate you for the work you do,” MacDonald said.

“Well, I’m asking you to do one simple thing,” Abram countered.

In the end, the Feb. 23 meeting stayed as is. Board meetings in 2017 will follow roughly the same pattern as in past years, with the first meeting of the month taking place on a Wednesday afternoon and the second on a Thursday.