EDITORIAL: Report could have waited

There’s no question that City of Vernon employees were in a difficult situation Monday.

Calls for information around bylaw enforcement, and particularly parking, had surfaced months ago, so when staff made a presentation, the directive of council — the boss — was simply being followed.

However, Councillors Catherine Lord and Bob Spiers objected to the presentation and took the rare step of actually opposing the meeting agenda.

“We are in the middle of a core services review and it (staff report) could be seen as influencing the process,” said Lord.

And that is fair comment as council members have gone to great length to ensure they aren’t involved in the review and that the scrutiny of city operations is independent.

The only intent of the staff report  Monday was to address concerns councillors had. But in doing so, the perception may arise that the politicians have been influenced to take a specific direction when they must make a final decision on the outcome of the core services review.

Monday’s presentation may also, inadvertently, create divisions within city hall as other departments have not been able to detail their activities prior to council determining the future of the overall organization.

In order to maintain the integrity of the core service review — or at least the perception that there has been no internal or external influence — chief administrative officer Will Pearce should have held off on the bylaw enforcement presentation until April when the review is done. After all, it took a few months for staff to appear before council.

As it is now, there may be some people within the community and city hall wondering if the review has been compromised.


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