Published in the Georgia Straight today, link follows article.
A former City of North Vancouver mayoral candidate is unhappy that a top municipal bureaucrat has muzzled staff from directly answering his questions.
Kerry Morris told the Straight by phone that the chief administrative officer, Ken Tollstam, has decreed that his office will respond to all of his inquiries. According to Morris, Tollstam has not given him an explanation for this decision.
“I have never done anything other than to hold the city to account for what I consider to be wrong, if not illegal, behaviour,” Morris said.
He added that he plans to continue interacting with municipal employees. “And if Mr. Tollstam should make the grave error of denying me that right, he will then feel the full force of the law,” Morris said.
On April 27, Morris wrote a letter to Tollstam claiming that he has infringed on his rights as a taxpayer and resident of the city.
“To my knowledge, there does not exist a bylaw which authorizes the withdraw[al] or reduction of public services in relation to me as an individual taxpayer in a manner which differentiates me from all other taxpayers,” Morris wrote.
Tollstam didn’t respond by deadline to a request for an interview. In an April 28 letter to Morris, he stated that as the CAO, he has statutory authority under Section 147 of the Community Charter and Section 5(a) of the Officers and Officials Bylaw to direct city staff on how to respond to questions from the public.
In 2014, Morris won 44 percent of the votes for mayor. He said that during his campaign, he refused political contributions above $300. He also criticized Mayor Darrell Mussatto for accepting large donations from developers.
Mussatto told the Straight by phone that Tollstam made the decision to respond to all of Morris’s inquiries. “He’s able to speak to the most senior bureaucrat at city hall,” Mussatto said. “I think that’s quite an honour and a privilege. I do have to say that Mr. Tollstam gets back to him on all of those issues.”