Updated: Elephant in the Room -a new low in the CNV

Update: Kerry Morris addressed our post (below) with Karla Graham, the City Clerk.  He received the following responses today from both her and Mr. Tollstam.  20151011092830505  The Council Meeting minutes have now been corrected.

It seems that the Mayor chose to ignore the ‘elephant in the room’ and, contrary to section 4 in the City bylaw, chose not to address the Point of Privilege. 

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Original post:

From Wikipedia:

“Elephant in the room” or “Elephant in the living room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.[2]

It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook.

At Monday’s Council Meeting immediately after the meeting was called to order, Councillor Clark raised the following Point of Privilege:

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Point of Privilege
Mayor Mussatto & Fellow City Councillors:
My Point of Privilege arises out of a loan for $7,639.10 made by Councillor Keating to Mayor Mussatto in the last election. I believe this creates a conflict of interest in that the Mayor & a member of Council now have a financial relationship which has to date not been publicly exposed.
Secondly, on examination of the Mayor’s Financial Disclosure document submitted shortly after the last election; on page 2 – top of the page under Liabilities, no mention or disclosure of the $7,639.10 loan from Councillor Keating to the Mayor is made. This is required under the Act.
Until this very serious matter is resolved, I call on the Mayor & Councillor Keating to immediately step down from City Council.
Councillor Rod Clark
Oct 4/2015

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The Council meeting then continued as though nothing had been said, in violation of the Council Procedures Bylaw which states:

Decision on Point of Privilege 7.1 A Council Member may raise a Point of Privilege at any time, whereupon the Chair must: (1) interrupt a matter currently under consideration on the agenda; (2) interrupt any Council Member who had been speaking at the time the Point of Privilege is raised, until it has been ruled on; (3) ask the Council Member raising the Point of Privilege to state the substance of and the basis for the Point of Privilege; and (4) order any actions necessary to address the Point of Privilege.

Summary:  on Tuesday a.m. we asked the Clerk for a copy of the text and on Wednesday she replied that we could use the video.  We then asked again and have not received a reply.  We also note that the Minutes of the meeting seem to have been manipulated – the meeting was Called to Order at 6.00pm and Councillor Clark spoke immediately after.  According to the Minutes, he spoke and then the meeting was Called to Order at 6.01pm.    Is it dishonest to change the facts? 
This has shocked regular Council watchers who are left wondering whether manipulation is the new normal in the City of North Van.

video: http://www.cnv.org/Your-Government/Council-Meetings/Council-Videos/2015-Council-Videos

 

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2 responses to “Updated: Elephant in the Room -a new low in the CNV

  1. northvancityvoices

    Reblogged this on North Van City Voices and commented:

    Response from the City to “Elephant in the Room”

  2. The only knowledge I can contribute to the discussion of this event is what I’ve gleaned from school board politics – that a conflict of interest on a School Board cannot be dealt with by fellow trustees, but only, as far as I understand, by an elector, as stipulated by the School Act. I’m a non-lawyer, but familiar with the litigation won by Cornelius Wynja, a Richmond elector, in the 1990s, against two Richmond school trustees (the court decisions can be read by searching for his name on http://www.CanLII.org).
    So it would be interesting to review the law relevant to city councils, and see who has (I believe the term would be) standing to litigate if this constitutes a conflict. Furthermore, as someone who’s done this, I can say that self-representation is more accessible than it has been in the past. I don’t say it’s easy, nor is it risk-free, but if someone wants to litigate who doesn’t have resources to hire a lawyer, it’s an available channel.
    Shock, anger, public shame and so on have their place in responding to problematic behaviour by politicians, but conflict of interest is, I believe, a breach of law, and I’d suggest it needs to be dealt with as such, through legal channels.
    Violating procedure concerning a point of privilege maybe has other remedies, but the councillor who raised it would have had to inform himself whether his comment was properly handled as such. Doctored minutes, on the other hand…

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